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The author of this manual is strongly of the belief that 
it is the business of text-books only to suggest ; of teachers, 
to direct and guide; and of pupils, to work. No attempt 
has been made in the following pages to "say it all". The 
most that has been attempted is to be wisely suggestive, 
more work being left for the teacher to do than has been 
done by the author, and much more being left for the pupil 
than has been delegated to the teacher. The illustrative 
material has, therefore, been kept at a minimum, it being 
much better for the pupil to seek and find his own illustra- 
tions for principles he has studied than to have them 
served up for him. Particularly has it been the intention 
to throw him on his own responsibility in the last four or 
five chapters of the book. Here the knowledge gleaned 
from the earlier chapters should stand him in such stead, 
if he has done the work faithfully, as to enable him to 
proceed in planning the various types of composition with 
but little suggestion and guidance. His progress always, 
everywhere, means the mastery of elementary details to 
such a degree that he can proceed with fewer and fewer 
of such details as he pursues any subject. 

However, consecutiveness of development along any 
hard and fixed line is impossible in so fluid a subject as 
English composition. It may be necessary, it may indeed 
be very wise, to ignore the order in which the various sub- 
jects are treated, and to take them up for study most irregu- 
larly. This depends, of course, upon the individual needs 
of pupils. It is quite conceivable, for instance, that Chapter 
X should precede Chapter II; that Chapter V should per- 



haps follow Chapter IX ; and so on. These are matters that 
every teacher must settle for each and every individual 
class. It too frequently happens that teachers make the 
mistake of allowing consecutive numbering of chapters and 
pages to determine the order which a student's career of 
learning must follow. This, it need not be said, is very 
often a most serious blunder. The first aim must always 
be to get at the teaching point with the pupil, wherever in 
the book (or out of it) that may mean to begin. 

The object in the present book is not to teach how to 
write, but to teach how to go about writing, how to pre- 
pare to write, how to begin to write. For this reason it is 
advised that a good grammar or rhetoric be used along with 
the Composition Planning, as a supplement. At any rate 
spelling, punctuation, and their many kindred subjects must 
always be taught, whether their teaching be provided from 
books or, what is better, from the teacher's own ingenuity. 
Composition work in our schools has come into more or 
less bad repute, not because the market has not been sup- 
plied with composition books, but largely because pupils 
have been allowed, and therefore have been taught, to 
write and say things before properly meditating or consid- 
ering them. We complain of our youth, especially in our 
cities, for being "rattle-brained", confused, unsettled in their 
thinking. This is but the natural outcome of the many- 
sided interests that modern life with all its complexities is 
charged with. Add to this condition the indefiniteness, the 
fluidity of a subject such as English, and there arises a situ- 
ation of the greatest possible bewilderment. But instead 
of being a detriment, all of this may be turned to a most 
wholesome opportunity indeed, if properly controlled and 
managed. The mental range and activity of our modem 
youth, applied under able guidance and direction to the 



problem of oral and written expression, can be made pro- 
ductive of results unequaled by those in any other field of 
study. No one is justified in denying that the harvest will 
be fully worthy of the most careful planting and nurturing. 
It is this problem to which the present work devotes itself. 
It aims to give the pupil control and mastery of his knowl- 
edge and through this mastery to organize that knowledge 
in such a way as best to present it to others. 

Among the many faults of the book the author antici- 
pates that it will be criticised most severely because it makes 
composition building too mechanical and artificial. He sees 
that this may possibly be a justifiable criticism. But he has 
already said that much has been left for the teacher to do, 
and he wishes to point out at once that, among the many 
things he looks to the teacher to accomplish, none is more 
important than the rescue of the pupil from any harmful 
mechanical or artificial tendencies which may be super- 
induced by the following chapters. He has aimed to make 
a very indefinite and uncertain subject a little more defi- 
nite, a little more mechanical, if you please. In trying to 
do this he may have erred on the other side. If so, he has 
but paid the teacher the ccMnpliment of presenting oppor- 
tunity to prove efficiency. He believes, however, that the 
average pupil will sooner or later seek and find his own 
fluent medium of expression the better for having been 
almost mathematical in his fundamental work in English 

The author wishes to thank the following publishers 
for their courtesy in permitting him to quote from copy- 
righted works : Messrs. D. Appleton and Company, Messrs. 
Longmans, Green and Company, The Macmillan Company, 
and Messrs. Charles Scribner's Sons. 

J. B. O. 





Its Origin — Its General Use — Its Value i 



Sequence — Proportion — Subordination — The Graphic or Pic- 
. ture Plan — ^Adherence — Exercise 8 



Selection and Rejection of Material — Generic and Specific 

Words — ^Arrangement — Uniformity — Exercise . i8 



Extensive Subordination or Subdivision — Scope — Tabula- 
tion — The Running-graphic Plan — Exercise . 35 






Conversation — Topic and Summary Sentences — Key-words — 
Echo-words — The Paragraph-Composition Plan — Topic, 
Summary, and Subordinate Paragraphs — Methods of 
Paragraph Development — The Composite Paragraph — 
Exercise 56 



The Topical Plan— The Phrasal Plan— The Clausal Plan— 
The Sentence Plan — Various Plans Combined and Inter- 
changed — The Deductive or Study Plan — The Bracket 
Plan — The Parallel Plan — The Headline Plan — Exercise 85 


point of view and purpose. 

Explanation of Point of View — Kinds of Point of View — 

Purpose — Its Uses and Abuses — Exercise . . .120 


THE letter plan. 

Kinds of Letters — Value of Planning — Parts of Letter — 
Form of Letter — Punctuation of Parts — Brief Illustra- 
tive Plans for Different Kinds of Letters — Exercise . 137 





Titles and Subjects — Form of Written Work — Sentences, 
Paragraphs, Words — Sequence — Coherence — Unity — Em- 
phasis — Variety — Exercise 174 



Form — Position — ^Voice — Breathing — Gestures — Concentra- 
tion — Pronunciation — Grammar — Usage — Conversation 
— Extemporaneous Speaking — Prepared Speeches — Ex- 
ercise 196 



Definitions — Relations — Plans — Exercise . . . .219 



Definition — Relation to Description — Plain Exposition — In- 
verted Exposition — Narrative Exposition — Enumerative 
Exposition — The Character Sketch — Exercise . . 225 





Definition — Parts of Narration — Slow Narration — Rapid 
Narration — Forms of Outline — Introduction and Conclu- 
sion in Narration — Biography and Autobiography — Ex- 
ercise 246 



Definition — General Descriptive Plan — Point of View — Irreg- 
ular Forms of Plan — Simple Description — Description by 
Comparison — Description by EflFects — Illustrative Plans 
— Exercise 265 



Definition — Terms of Argument — Arrangement of Material — 
Order of Discussion — Single Debate — Team Debate — 
Partition of Argument — Rebuttal or Refutation — Exer- 
cise 290 



Methods of Discourse — Indirect — Direct — Dramatic — Punc- 
tuation — The Dramatic Plan (Scenario) — The Character 
Cast — Specimen Plans — The Stage Setting — Stage Di- 
rections — Exercise 314 



Order is Nature's first law. We have often heard that 
statement without understanding fully perhaps its true sig- 
nificance. Probably it is impossible for us ever to under- 
stand it fully. But so far as we are able to see with our 
limited vision we can discern without much difficulty that 
the phenomena about us, — the rising and the setting of the 
sun, the alternation of the seasons, the ebb and flood of the 
tides, the growth and development of animal and plant life, 
the regular recurrence of night and day, the rhythmic beat- 
ing of our own hearts, — ^all observe laws of order and har- 
mony which are necessary to their well-being and to that 
of our little world. If this order be interfered with to the 
slightest degree, confusion results. And from this we are 
led to believe that there has been a plan which we call the 
Divine Plan; that there has been an organization promul- 
gated by a greater Organizer. If this were not so, we 
should justifiably expect the stars to tumble down upon us 
higgledy-piggledy; we should likewise expect to have win- 
ter put in an appearance when summer is due; to have 
trees grow root upward; to have our hearts beat rapidly 
one day and then take a rest for a day or two. In short, 
we should have an unendurable chaos, were the great natu- 
ral order or plan of things to be disturbed for an instant. 



Now, man is aware that he owes his very being to this 
inevitable order and he accordingly plans or organizes his 
work after his Teacher. He has learned very well indeed, 
by much bitter experience, that he can hope for no success- 
ful outcome of his efforts unless he spends some time medi- 
tating upon the method best calculated to bring about their 
realization. He plans, he organizes, he outlines roughly at 
first, he tries and tries and tries again to frame a workable 
scheme or order; then, having hit upon the one, he goes 
to work and produces the long-dreamed-of thing with ease. 
Does he long for a house in which to live ? Very well ; he 
has often been caught by storm and been obliged to find 
shelter beneath the friendly old tree in his path. Now he 
looks upward and studies the tree. He sees that its shape 
is conical, that the water runs off from leaf to leaf, keeping- 
him quite dry, and he notices also that the whole is sup- 
ported by a pole called the trunk running straight from 
the ground to the apex. Therefore, he goes to the spot 
where he thinks he would like to live and builds for himself 
a hut or tent. Does he want to build a bridge over the 
large stream which runs before his new home? Naturally. 
He has noticed that Nature bridges that stream every 
winter and that the bridge is strong enough to bear his 
own weight and that of his burden also. He watches the 
process. He sees that she begins to build not in the mid- 
dle, but at either shore, and that she braces the shore con- 
struction by dovetailing ledges of ice down the banks. 
Moreover, he notices that the bridge, when it is finally 
done, and the middle portion is secure, is arched. He does 
not know just why as yet, but he goes to work and builds 
his bridge in accordance with Nature's plan, and behold! 
one day the huge spans across the East River are the result 
of his observation and his planning. So carefully has he 


learned to plan that before a single particle of dirt is turned 
for the most wonderful bridge in the world, every bolt, 
every wire, every item, however minute it may be, of that 
immense structure is accounted for in the plan he has drawn 
up on paper. If this were not done the bridge would of 
course refuse to serve his purpose. Structures that are 
put together haphazardly endure but for a very short time 
indeed, and they are always unsatisfactory and inefficient 
while they do endure. Thus, architects and engineers are 
made necessary. They are Nature's great children. They 
construct on paper so that others, or they themselves, may 
construct enduringly in stone and iron. 

When we take up a book we very naturally turn to that 
part of it called 'Table of Contents". Why? Because from 
the outline or plan of the book we find there, we shall be 
able to tell what the book is about. When we go to the 
theater we are eager for a program, because it outlines or 
"skeletonizes" the play for us, and makes us better able 
to understand what is going to be presented. Are we 
going to take a journey? Well, then, we must "plan it 
out". The time of departure, the place, the change of cars, and 
all the rest of it must be planned, or we shall have no end 
of trouble before we reach our desired destination. Have 
we but a few minutes to glance through the newspaper 
this morning? We should not have overslept, but the 
editor has been very kind to us, — he has outlined or "head- 
lined" every article of importance. By glancing at this 
condensation of each important world happening we can 
get a fair idea of its main content. Such examples as 
these, as we very well know, might be multiplied ad inHrd- 
turn. If we will stop to think for a moment we will recall 
many other things that bear evidence of careful planning 
in our routine of this very day. 


Perhaps we have all at some time seen a desk in the of- 
fice of a man who had no sense of order, and who made no 
effort to cultivate it. If so, we have doubtless wondered 
how he managed to find anything at the time he happened 
to want it. We have in mind such a one. The pigeon-holes 
are all stuffed full of papers; the top of the desk is piled 
a foot high in some places with letters, diagrams, envelopes, 
pens, pencils, paper-weights (holding down books while 
manuscript is blown to the floor), etc., in a luxury of con- 
fusion. The owner of this dissipated desk is a la>yyer, 
somewhat notable perhaps for his legal ability, but certainly 
notorious because of his display of temper whenever a client 
comes in and asks to be shown the papers bearing upon his 
case. Then there is a general shuffle in which all the clerks 
of the office are obliged to take part until the special docu- 
ment is found. But the order of the desk is worse if possi- 
ble than it was before the search began. Such a spectacle as 
this was a common one in the timfe of our grandfathers, 
and even to-day there are numberless men who seemingly 
do not know the alphabet, for their letters are not ar- 
ranged in alphabetical or any other order. 

But the majority of offices in our time are well ordered. 
We see letter files and filing cabinets on every hand. If we 
go into a broker's office and make inquiry about some par- 
ticular bonds or stocks, the manager opens a drawer, places 
his finger on a section of cards under a certain letter of 
the alphabet, and at once takes out a smaller card with 
the information upon it. Or if we go into the library to 
borrow a certain book we are referred to the card catalogue 
and there we find the whole library in a nutshell, as it were. 
We find a section of. cards labeled *Tiction" (if we happen 
to be looking for a novel ) ; we find under this general card 
an alphabetical arrangement of books of fiction; we run 


them over until we find the book we want. It has a shelf 
number and a volume number, both of which we note. 
Then we are able to put our hands upon the book. It is 
not necessary to insist upon the immense importance of 
this library plan or arrangement. We understand at once 
how valuable a thing- it is, the more so if the library is a 
large one containing half a million books or more. Again, 
and nearer home to us, a boy's mother may come to school 
some day at eleven o'clock to take him somewhere. When 
she makes inquiry for him at the office, do they tell her 
that he cannot be found? Does the principal of our school 
of, say, two thousand pupils make a canvass of all the class- 
rooms asking for him ? Not at all ! We know what hap- 
pens. The school is all outlined, planned, ordered, or- 
ganized in those little drawers in the office cabinet, and any 
pupil in this big school can be found at a moment's notice. 
The key to the whole situation, to any situation, however 
big it may be, is in the arrangement or plan of that situa- 
tion. It matters not what we call it — ^plan, outline, order, 
arrangement, skeleton, synopsis, catalogue, or what not — 
the thing is indispensable in whatever kind of work one 
has to do. 

We cannot urge too strongly therefore the importance 
of carefully planning any piece of work with which one 
may be. confronted at any given time. Most of all would 
we insist upon the value of it in composition work. This 
is more important to-day, perhaps, than it ever has been 
before, for the reason that we are living in such a complex 
age. There is infinite complexity in our world and there 
must therefore be infinite organization in order to master 
affairs, to prevent affairs from mastering us with their 
confusion. It is sometimes hard for the young mind to 
understand the system in all things around it, and the 


mind is accordingly allowed to run wild. "Rattle-brained- 
ness" is the common accusation made against our youth 
because he thinks that everything about him is "rattle- 
brained" and topsy-turvy. But this is a huge mistake. He 
is failing to see that everything is operating in an orderly 
fashion and that he himself is one of the most systematic 
creatures on earth when he gives Nature a chance to have 
her way with him. It is the purpose of this book to help 
to form habits of ordering oral and written work, to help 
to avoid "hap-hazardness'', to tell how to prepare to deliver 
speeches and write compositions, to teach how to think 
systematically and connectedly. 

Of course, when our teacher assigns us a composition 
for the next recitation, we would much rather sit down 
and "dash it off". But we must bear in mind that, if we 
would some day "dash things off" with our pens, we must 
now be willing to go through the drilling without which 
we can never hope to write with any fluency. We can 
argue eloquently (we have done so many times) that 
Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson and their 
great literary compeers never made outlines or plans be- 
fore writing their immortal stories. Perhaps not; but we 
may rest assured that they went through endless toil by 
way of organizing material for composition in their youth. 

We must not think for a moment that any one of them 
sat down to write a story without having it under perfect 
mastery in his mind before doing so. We must not imag- 
ine that these men had not formed the habit of systematiz- 
ing their knowledge before they were ever able to write their 
masterpieces. We have, of course, heard a great pianist 
play the piano with such consummate skill and ease that 
we forgot all about the fact that years ago this same great 
person who now enraptures our souls had to sweat blood to 


master the finger exercises which we so easily give up. 
Every great artist must go through this mill at an awful 
cost of work and worry. But once a finished artist he can 
throw off the shackles of rule and rote and do the rudi- 
mentary things in his own way, because he has been so 
trained at the beginning that his own way will be a good 
way. A noted organist once said that when he was a boy 
he fingered according to the directions on a piece of music, 
but later he fingered to suit himself. He is now writing 
music and inserting directions about fingering which learn- 
ers must observe if they would accomplish anything. It 
is trite to say in this connection that genius is nothing more 
or less than the ability to work very hard. We hear a 
great deal, to be sure, about the "flash of genius", but we 
shall stand upon much safer ground if we take Mr. Thomas 
A. Edison's definition, "Genius is 98 per cent, perspiration 
and 2 per cent, inspiration", and abide by it. And, lest we 
misunderstand, let it be added that we are not expecting 
that we are going to be such artists or geniuses as those 
mentioned above; we are just insisting that we aim at noth- 
ing short of perfection in our composition work and that 
we employ methods most likely to help us realize our aim, 
at least in part. 




Let us investigate what our hslbits are when we are 
asked to explain or narrate any of the simple things per- 
taining to our daily experience. Most of us have taken or 
planned trips of one sort or another, however short they 
may have been. By way of example, then, we will imagine 
that we are going to travel from Boston to San Francisco. 
Our route might be planned as follows : — 

Boston — Chicago— Denver — San Francisco. 

This would be a regular and consistent arrangement of 
the trip. It would be absurd of course to plan our journey 
between these two points in this manner :■ — 

Chicago— Boston — Denver — San Francisco. 

and none of us would think of making such a plan. In- 
deed, the ticket purchased at the railroad office would settle 
the matter for us by outlining the route in the most orderly 
way. And if we were asked to tell about our trip after 
our return, it would be the most natural thing in the world 
for us to give our account of it in accordance with this 
plan. What should please us more, it would be the easiest 
possible method of telling or writing about it. It seems 
so obvious to us, that it appears almost foolish even to 
suggest the wisdom of following the order of travel; yet 



we have known people who, in reviewing a trip they. have 
taken, constantly jumped about from place to place without 
the slightest regard for their listeners. How much easier 
it would have been to follow them and how much easier 
it would have been for them, if they had adjusted their 
account to the orderly progress of their journeying. 

Now, suppose that we had made certain stops between 
Boston and San Francisco other than those mentioned 
above, and suppose we were desirous of making mention 
of these in our subsequent account of the trip. We might 
very properly designate them in this way : — ^ 

Boston — Albany-Buffalo— Chicago — St. Louis-Kansas City — 
Denver — Salt Lake City — San Francisco. 

Here we have not only the regular and natural order of 
the route, but we have also signified the relative importance 
of the places by the use of smaller type for those that are 
minor as compared with the four great landmarks of our 

Again, if we were asked to give an account of the food 
we ate yesterday, we would naturally be guided in the first 
place by the order of our meals : — 

Breakfast — Dinner — Supper. 

and, with this orderly division of our subject before us, 
we would proceed to tell what we ate. Or if, as is often 
the case, we had eaten "between meals'*, we would prob- 
ably indicate the "extras" as follows : — 

Breakfast — 10 o'clock Lunch — Dinner — 4 o'clock Tea — Sup- 

This, being the order in time in which these interesting 
events occurred, would be the natural order for us to ob- 


serve in telling about them. We call this orderly time- 
arrangement of subject-matter the chronological order, or 
SEQUENCE. If we had placed our lo o'clock luncheon be- 
fore breakfast, our plan would not have been chronological 
and sequential Moreover, it is quite likely that we should 
have considerably more to say about dinner than about 
the other meals mentioned, if yesterday was a normally 
healthful day with us. This fact should of course be made 
evident in our table of contents or in our plan. For the 
present we can best indicate this by leaving spaces after 
the topics proportionate to their importance ; thus : — 

Breakfast lo o'clock Lunch — Dinner 4 o'clock 

Tea — Supper . 

We have shown by this, then, our second principle in plan- 
ning: namely, proportion. Dinner leads in importance 
and therefore has the largest space left after it; breakfast 
and supper follow; and our luncheon and tea follow these. 
The relations may be better seen in the diagram, — 

!B I |L I ID ||T IIS I 

These two principles — sequence and proportion — are 
two of die most important in our work of composition 
building, and we shall have frequent occasion to refer to 
them hereafter. 

Let us now complete our plan by placing after each 
topic already named the specific things that we ate. In 
order to indicate that these are minor or subordinate to 
the five main or major topics, we will write them in 
smaller type, as we did the smaller cities in our first plan : — 

Breakfast — Cereal-Eggs-Bacon — Luncheon — Sandwiches — 
Dinner — Soup-Meat-Potatoes-Corn-Beans-Pudding — Tea — 
Bread- Jam — Supper — Salad-Milk-Cake. 


We have here been careful to observe the law of sequence 
and the law of proportion. We have also illustrated fully 
in this little plan a third law or principle, namely, subordi- 
nation; that is, the writing of the less important topics 
in an outline in such a way as to leave no doubt that they 
are lesser than those to which they properly belong. In 
this as in our former plan we have indicated these simply 
by the use of smaller type. Later we shall see that they 
can be further set apart by placing them in a different 
position from the major topics. 

If we are unable to designate this subordination by 
means of a changed handwriting, we may do so by means 
of capitalizfng "the major topics and writing the minor 
topics without capitals. The second point in the outline 
below, taken from Washington Irving's Life of Oliver 
Goldsmith, illustrates this method, as do also points two 
and three under Prelude II of James Russell Lowell's The 
Vision of Sir Launfal, on page 12, 

Such a plan as we have thus far been discussing is 
called a running plan or outline^ because the topics of 
which it is composed run one directly after the other. We 
have frequently seen such a plan in the tables of contents 
at the beginning of books, or at the openings of 'chapters. 
It sums up in a general way all that the chapter contains. 
It gives the substance of the chapter in a nutshell. Many 
authors find this kind of plan a most helpful one, both for 
themselves and for their readers. Every chapter in Wash- 
ington Irving's Life of Oliver Goldsmith (to give but a 
single instance) is prefaced with such a plan. The run- 
ning plan for Chapter X of that book reads as follows: — • 

Oriental appointment — and disappointment — Examination at the 
College of Surgeons — How to procure a suit of clothes — Fresh dis- 
appointment — ^A tale of distress — The suit of clothes in pawn — 


Punishment for doing an act of charity — Gaieties of Green Arbor 
Court — Letter to his brother — Life of Voltaire — Scroggins, an at- 
tempt at mock-heroic poetry. 

The RUNNING PLAN is in addition an excellent vehicle 
for summarizing and fixing our reading and study. It is 
the simplest and most adaptable plan we know. It accom- 
modates itself with equal readiness to a whole work or to 
a small portion of that work. Matthew Arnold's Sohrab 
and Rustum, for instance, may be condensed to the follow- 
ing plan, and though it is a condensation it is none the 
less complete: — 

The Camp on the Oxus — Sohrab and Peran-Wisa — The 
Truce — Rustum's Perversity and Pride — The Fight — Sohrab's 
Defeat — Ruksh — The Revelation — Rustum's Grief — The Oxus. 

Or take again James Russell Lowell's The Vision of Sir 
Launfal: — 

Prelude I — The Organist — Infancy — Manhood — "World Val- 
ues" — June — 

Part I — The Sleep — The Young Knight's Start — The Leper — 
Prelude II — Winter — outside-inside — Return of the Knight — 
Part II — The Desolation — Sir Launfal and the Leper — ^The 
Transformation — The Awakening. 

Now expanding Part I of The Vision of Sir Launfal into 
an independent running plan^ we get : — 

Sir Launfal's Command — The Sleep — The Castle — ^The Start — 
The Contrast — The Leper — The Coin — The Sermon. 

In like manner we can expand any one of these topics into 
a separate running plan^ just as we can reduce a whole 
novel to a few cardinal points or main events. So elastic 
is our plan that it fails us never, no matter how huge the 


work we wish to plan. And it need not be added that the 
acquisition of the ability to do these things and the forma- 
tion of habits to such an end are an invaluable aid in all 
our reading, writing, and study. 

But instead of arranging our topics end to end or hori- 
zontally, as we have been doing, we may arrange them one 
above^ the other, perpendicularly, and thus show exactly 
the same sequence and proportion and. subordination 
in our material as we have been able to show in our run- 
ning PLANS. We will call this new arrangement the 
GRAPHIC or PICTURE PLAN or OUTLINE, and we will notice 
very carefully how the three principles just named are 
clearly brought out by the numbering, the spacing, and 
the position of topics : — 

I. — Breakfast 

1. Cereal 

2. Eggs 

3. Bacon 

II. — 10 o'clock Luncheon 
I. Sandwiches 

III. — Dinner 

1. Soup 

2. Meat 

3. Potatoes 

4. Corn 

5. Beans 

6. Pudding 

IV. — 4 o'clock Tea 

1. Bread 

2. Jam 

V. — Supper 

1. Salad 

2. Milk 

3. Cake 



This form of outline has a distinct advantage over the 
RUNNING PLAN in that its various parts and inter-relations 
can be understood at a moment's glance. The propor- 
tion, the SUBORDINATION, the SEQUENCE all stand out 
clearly. It forms a more distinct picture than the other 
type of outline. Here again we may indicate the propor- 
tion by means of lines, as we did in the other case, — 



The major topics, we see, are indicated by Roman nu- 
merals, — I, II, III, IV, V, etc. The minor or subordinate 
topics are placed under and slightly to the right of the 
major topics to which they respectively belong, and are 
indicated by Arabic numerals. We are thereby enabled 
to make easy reference to any point, in the following brief 
manner : — 

IV-i — Bread; III-4— Corn; etc. 

The plans arranged in this chapter, then, are suffi- 
ciently complete for our present purposes. Our next prob- 
lem is to write the composition or deliver the speech, keep- 


ing the plan always before us so that we shall not wander 
from the sequential and proportionate development. These 
two principles — sequence and PROPORxfoN — must be kept 
constantly in mind in our writing or speaking, as well as 
in our planning, for the tendency to wander into the by- 
ways of the subject will be insistently present with us 
unless we are on our guard. There will be no danger, 
however, if we follow closely, point by point, the arrange- 
ment of the subject here drawn up ; for it is plainly notice- 
able that care has been taken to avoid including anything 
in the plan that does not properly belong to the matter 
« under discussion. Not a topic has been set down that 
does not pertain directly to the subject. We call this strict 
observance of the close relationship between title and topic 
adherence; that is, we adhere to our subject in our com- 
position, be it oral or written. For the present we will 
divide our composition into as many paragraphs as we 
have main topics in our plan, and we will devote a sentence 
or two to each subordinate topic. Of course this is a very 
general direction and we shall have to exercise our judg- 
ment in taking liberties with it. It is quite likely that we 
can combine two or three subordinate topics into one sen- 
tence, or two main topics into one paragraph. But for 
the present writing or speaking, let us follow as closely as 
we can the sentence and paragraph arrangement here sug- 

We are all perfectly aware that such plans as those 
we have been discussing are the salvation of many a public 
speaker in the course of his speech-making. Preachers 
often take into the pulpit with them nothing but a "skele- 
ton" of their sermons, very similar to, though of course 
more elaborate and intricate than, the ones we have used 
for our illustrations. Political speakers, lawyers, men in 


any walk of life when called upon to deliver an address, 
invariably have in their hands or in their minds a plan of 
the things they want to say which holds them strictly to 
a well-ordered expression of their thoughts; that is, of 
course, unless they read their addresses verbatim, in which 
case they have followed their plans while writing. If 
therefore we form the habit of doing this preliminary work 
well now, we shall save ourselves much time and many 
failures in connection with our future work, no matter in 
what direction that work happens to fall. 

Opportunity is here given to apply the knowledge we 
have gained in this chapter in solving the following prob- 
lems. We must keep constantly in mind the meaning of 
such terms as sequence, proportion, subordination^ 



I. In a running plan name the half dozen different 
foods you have eaten to-day, subordinating the names of 
the places from which they came. 

11. In a running plan name the different members of 
your family, giving subordinately the main characteristics 
of each. 

III. By means of a running plan indicate your daily 
journey to or from school. 

IV. Name in a running plan all the subjects you 
study, placing subordinate to each the name of the teacher. 

V. State in a running outline the important points 
to be remembered in this chapter. Briefly define each sub- 

VI. Convert any three of the above plans (called 
for under I, II, III, IV, V) into graphic plans. 


VII. By meang of a graphic plan give the names of 
four or five authors with whose works you are familiar, 
and give under each the names of the works you have 

VIII. Write either a running or a graphic outline of 
some short poem you have read. 

IX. Outline either by graphic or by running plan the 
chief happenings of the past week as you have learned them 
from the newspapers. Explain each topic briefly by means 
of subordinate topics. 

X. Convert the running plans of The Vision of Sir 
Launfal and Sohrab and Rtistum given in this chapter into 
graphic plans. Make them more detailed if possible. 

XL Develop further the following plans and then 
convert them into the graphic form :-^ 

Spring — Summer — Autumn — Winter. 

Ball— Bases— Bat— Field. 

City School — Country School. 

Tramp — Laborer — Middleman — Aristocrat. 

Books — Papers — Magazines. 

XII. Study the following outline and rearrange it so 
that it will observe the principles laid down in this chap- 
ter : — 

air. sea, climbing, benefit, bathing, coaching, sand, people, 
snakes, grass, strolls, pastimes, mountains, trout, falls, fish- 
ing, trees, salt, health, heiglit. 




In the previous chapter we have of course dealt with 
the simplest possible kinds of subjects. But these homely 
illustrations have, we hope, been of some benefit. We 
ought to have learned that, instead of thinking about our 
menu of yesterday in a jumbled, disconnected fashion, it is 
vastly better to order and systematize our thinking, par- 
ticularly if we want to give expression of it to some one 
\ else. Instead of replying in this fashion to a question 

about our food : — 

Bread, tea, breakfast, fire, corn pudding, beans, lO o'clock, 
salad, meat, jam, cake, dinner, cereal, flowers, supper, 4 o'clock, 
eggs, lunch, bacon, soup, potatoes, milk, sandwiches, 

we bethought ourselves and, for the information of others, 
organized our knowledge of what we ate. On consider- 
ing the many things that came into our minds when the 
question was asked, we found that some of them (break- 
fast, luncheon, dinner, tea, supper) stood out prominently 
and fell into a natural order; we found that under each 
one of these could be grouped certain foods belonging to 
each; and we also found that, though there were flowers 
on the table and a fire in the dining-room grate while we 
were eating, the flowers and the fire were really not eaten 
by us, and that consequently they did not adhere to our 
title. We therefore discarded them altogether from our 



outline. In fine, the process of building up our plan was 
something like this: — 

1. We summoned our knowledge of the subject. 

2. We selected important or mtjor points. 

3. We arranged them ii^ order. 

4. We selected and arranged material under these. 

5. We rejected points that had no bearing on the title. 

Let us now see how we should proceed under slightly 
more difficult circumstances. Suppose our parents wish us 
to tell them by way of a composition all about the literary 
club of which we are members. We are anxious to do our 
best as usual and accordingly outline our work carefully 
before beginning to write the composition. But before be- 
ginning even the plan we must consider the subject fully 
in our minds, thinking over each and every phase of our 
club ^ork, in order that nothing of importance be omitted, 
in order that nothing that has no direct bearing on the 
club be included. Our problem in such a circumstance as 
we are supposing is always this, — How can we render this 
matter so clear as to make questions for further informa- 
tion unnecessary when we are done? How can we obvi- 
ate the inclusion of material that is not necessary to a 
proper and full understanding of the constitution and work- 
ings of our club? These are serious questions syid they 
must be seriously cotisidered by everyone who would write 
a worthy composition on whatever subject he has in hand. 
It is the effective and consummate solution of such ques- 
tions as these that makes the writing of a composition an 
art as well as a science. 

We will imagine that all the conceivable points to be 
made about our club are written on separate slips of paper, 
and that these are thrown into some receptaclCj a basket 
let us say, without any attempt whatsoever at arrange- 



ment. Then let us imagine ourselves taking them out of 
the basket, one at a time, just as they occur, and placing 
them on our study table in the order in which we pick them 
out. Something like this would probably result: — 







tricky Jim 









a typical meeting 
















meets in school 




once a week 




public meetings 














Here we have about fifty slips d£ paper, some having 
upon them single words; some, phrases; some, adjectives; 
some, whole sentences ; and they are placed totally without 
any order or system whatever. Our problem is to bring 
order out of this chaos. We have tried to be exhaustive 
in our list, omitting nothing that has a bearing upon our 
club and its workings. So eager have we been about 
this that we have included points that can have no bearing 
at all upon a general account of our tlub, such as we are 
asked to write, but that refer evidently to special meetings 
or unusual circumstances. These terms, with all that they 
suggest, if retained, would probably confuse our parents, 
no matter how interesting or how humorous might be the 
accounts of the incidents with which they are connected. 
"Tricky Jim", for instance, and "laughable", together with 
"foolish", "cat", "excited", "noise", "disorder", "dark", 
"upset", are certainly not regularly associated with our 
meetings. They refer to certain abnormal occurrences or 
conditions which came into our minds when we were con- 


templating past meetings with some of their uproarious or 
exasperating happenings. However interesting these refer- 
ences may be to us, we may be pretty sure that our parents 
would find more to condemn than to commend in hearing 
about them. They have presumably never had the oppor- 
tunity of seeing the club at work, and we must therefore re- 
member that they want an explicit account of its workings 
under usual conditions. Our list of topics includes also the 
word "athletic", but this can have no place in our composi- 
tion for our club is a literary club. Similarly, "picture" 
and "light" surely form no part of our club, though they 
may be important accessories in our club room. Our club 
ROOM^ however, is not our subject at the present time, so 
we must reject the two topics, "picture" and "light", along 
with the others. 

Having rejected these irrelevant topics, we have thereby 
selected (for one of these words always implies the other) 
those topics which we must retain for our outline. Let us 
turn our attention now to arranging these in some sort 
of rational way. We are first of all impressed with the 
fact that some of the topics in the list are more important 
than others. To point out but a few of these, we can 
see at a glance that the word "officers" includes the words 
"president", "secretary", and the various other names of 
specific officers given in the list. We call such a word a 
GENERIC *word because it is general in its scope and mean- 
ing and is inclusive in its application. The words which it 
included are called specific words because they refer to 
special, definite things. If we look through the list again we 
shall see that there are other specific words ; whereas "pur- 
poses", "membership", "benefits", are all words that seem to 
stand out as having a larger meaning than their lesser asso- 
ciates. Now, in arranging our material for composition we 


should make it a point to select the generic terms from our 
stock of information, and then to select the appropriate 
specific topics for each of these. Of course this may some- 
times involve us in small difficulties. We may be unable 
always to find a way to do thjs. Some words may be spe- 
cific in one sense and generic in another; for instance, the 
word "house" may be generic, in which case we can group 
under it such words as "cottage", "mansion", "bungalow", 
"castle", etc.; but it may also become a specific word 
if used in connection with the word "building". In like 
manner if the word "officers" be used with "army" it be- 
comes a specific word, instead of being generic, as in our 

There is still something else that becomes apparent to 
us if we study these topics a little further; namely, that 
some of the words by their very nature settle the matter of 
sequence for us. We know well enough that "roll-call" 
should precede "adjournment"; that "president" should 
precede "treasurer"; that it is a little more natural per- 
haps to talk about the organization of our club — its pur- 
poses, its membership, and its officers — ^before we give an 
account of a typical meeting. Such considerations as these 
must therefore be borne in mind by us when we come to 
drawing up our plan. 

We have subjected the list to rather a close scrutiny 
by this time. Let us summarize our discoveries briefly : — 

1. We have discovered a number of irrelevant or un- 
necessary points and discarded them. 

2. Among those remaining we have found certain 
ones that stand out more prominently than the 
rest, — certain generic terms, that is. 

3. We have found that there are certain smaller or 


specific terms which are dependent upon these 
larger ones. 
4. We have found a suggestion of sequence or order 
among the words that tells us in a general way 
which topics should be placed here and which should 
be placed there. 

We have learned all these things through the process 
known as selection of material for a composition. 
And now, remembering all that we learned in Chapter II 
' about sequence and proportion and subordination, we will 
attempt to draw up our informal plan by means of the 
process known in composition as arrangement of ma- 
terial : — 


I. Name — The Emerson. 
II. Place of meeting — School building. Room 35. 

III. Time of meetings — Fridays at 8 p. m. 

IV. Purposes : 

1. Social aims. 

2. Intellectual aims. 

V. Membership : 

1. Age. 

2. Number. 

3. Initiation. 

4. Expenses. 

VI. Officers : 

1. Director. 

2. President. 

3. Vice-president. 

4. Secretary. 

5. Treasurer. 
0. Critic. 


VII. Meetings : 

1. A Typical Meeting. 

a. Call to order. 

b. Roll-call. 

c. Minutes of last meeting. 

d. Old business. 

e. New business. 

f. Recitation. 

g. Oration, 
h. Debate. 

i. Extemporaneous speeches. 

j. Journal. 

k. Adjournment. 

2. Special Public Meeting. 

a. Play. 

b. Visitors. 

VIII. Benefits: 

1. Valuable training. 

2. Attention. 

3. Order. 

4. Prizes. 

Let us study this plan very closely and satisfy our- 
selves that it observes the rules thus far set down; in 
addition we may learn a few new things about building- a 
composition plan. We are impressed with the sequence 
and the proportion of the various points; we notice too 
the selection and arrangement of material; we observe the 
strict adherence of topic to title; and we see that Roman 
and Arabic numerals have been used as before, with the 
addition of small letters. 

It has been necessary to use these letters because there 
are evidently two distinct kinds of meetings suggested by 
our unarranged topics, regular and special or public. The 
generic topic "meetings" is therefore subdivided into two 
specific parts and each of these two parts is again subdi- 


vided into specific details belonging to it. This triple divi- 
sion must be noted in our outline; otherwise the enumera- 
tion of our points under "meetings" will be confused. As 
we give a play and admit visitors only on certain stated 
occasions, it would be misleading to mention these things 
along with those belonging to our account of regular meet- 
ings. It would be as if, on making a list of the things in 
a certain room, we should do it in this wise : — 

I. Contents of a Room 


1. Apples 

2. Chairs 


3. Table 


4. Sofa 

.J ni 1)313 

5. Peaches 

rarlt ^""^ 

6. Dog 

7. Pears 

8. Cat 

9. Book-shelf 

10. Pictures 

instead of as follows :- 

I. Contents of a Room 

1. Furniture 

a. Chairs 

b. Table 

c. Sofa 

d. Book-shelf 

e. Pictures 

2. Fruit 

a. Apples 

b. Peaches 

c. Pears 

3. Animals 

a. Dog 

b. Cat 


But, just as we could not make a major division of 
"Fruit'', or of "Animals'* in this illustration, for they are 
both contents of a room we have in mind, so we cannot 
make a major topic of "Special Public Meeting^ '. It is but 
another kind of meeting, not an independent phase of our 
club. The only logical thing for us to do therefore is to 
divide and subdivide major topic VII, making two grand 
divisions under "meetings" and lettering them with Arabic 
numerals i and 2. Such subordination as this necessi- 
tates — VII- 1 -a — is called subordination to the siecond de- 
gree, — I being the first degree of subordination and a^ the 
second. Further degrees of subordination will be consid- 
ered in Chapter IV. 

But there is a further new element to which our atten- 
tion must be called ; i. e., the uniformity of expression used 
throughout the plan. We have used nothing but nouns and 
nouns with simple modifiers for our topics, just as we did 
in the plans studied in Chapter I. It is important to observe 
the matter of uniformity of topical expression for the 
simple reason that we shall find ourselves inclined to give 
undue stress in the written composition to those points that 
are the more elaborately stated or the more firmly accented. 
Moreover, it is not conducive to logical and systematic 
thinking to mix the form of one's expressions unnecessarily. 
Topic V for instance might have been written thus : — 

V. Membership 

1. Age 

2. How many 

3. Initiation 

4. Expensive 

in which case we should have had two adjectives and two 
nouns, and in writing the composition we would probably 


accent the noun topic at the expense of the others, perhaps 
all unconsciously, but nevertheless pretty certainly. A 
noun inevitably calls for a more prominent place in any 
consideration than do other parts of speech. But it is just 
as easy to use nouns for all the topics in this particular 
case, and the mixing of the form indicates nothing but a 
slip-shod, slovenly way of expressing ourselves. We have 
seen the characteristics of a person enumerated in this 
manner : — 

I. Characteristics of John 

1. Determined 

2. He is generous 

3. A great student 

4. Activity 

Of course this is very bad and none of us would think of 
being quite so inconsistent, i. is an adjective; 2., a sen- 
tence; 3., a noun phrase; 4., a noun. How much better 
it would be to write the little plan as follows : — 

I. Characteristics of John 

1. Determination 

2. Generosity Unnouns 

3. Studiousness 

4. Activity 



1. Determined 

2. Generous U ^ adjectives 

3. Studious 

4. Active 

We shall learn more of this hereafter (Chapter VI). For 
the present let us be careful to keep the form of our topics 
as nearly similar in expression as possible, to make them 


conformable one to another. If we commence with adjec- 
tives, let us retain them consistently throughout the plan; 
if we commence with nouns, let us keep to the noun form 

The same advice applies to the matter of capitaliza- 
tion. Our major topics should always be capitalized, just 
as we capitalize our titles. Or, if we do not want to 
capitalize all the important words in these topics, we may 
confine our capitalization to the first word alone. Our 
subordinate topics may be capitalized or not, as we wish, 
but we must here, as everywhere, be perfectly consistent 
in the matter. We must not capitalize sometimes and at 
other times fail to capitalize. It is perhaps a little 
better to capitalize all important words in the major topics 
and only the first word in the minor or subordinate 

The same caution is necessary perhaps regarding punc- 
tuation. An outline is a table, very much like 

2X2 = 4 
2X3 = 6 

and as a rule, therefore, it is perfectly clear without the 
aid of punctuation. For this reason punctuation marks 
have seldom been used in the plans of this book, though 
the topics in almost any plan might have been followed 
throughout with commas or periods. In cases however 
where distinct values can be shown by means of punctua- 
tion (as on page 215) it should be used. Or again, in a 
long, involved plan, such as is often required for argu- 
ment (see page 302), where the interrelation of the topics 
is close and important, that punctuation should be used 
which would be correct were the topics written out end to 
end in a solid mass. Of course if we do punctuate in our 


plans, we must in this, as in the other technical matters just 
discussed, be consistent, and not place periods after some 
points, commas after others, and allow still others to go 
Hnpunctuated. We must never write anything like the fol- 
lowing, — 

1. Determined. 

2. Generous 

3. Studious, 

4. Active — 

The plan here drawn up for the title, our literary 
CLUB, is, like the plan for the food i ate yesterday, in 
Chapter I, a graphic plan. But all plans arranged perpen- 
dicularly, with topics under one another, are graphic or 
picture plans. There are two kinds of graphic plan, — ist, 


graphic plans thus far presented are Informal Plans. This 
name is used for them because there may be as many major 
topics as the knowledge of the composer seems to justify 
within the limits of his title ; that is, there is a great deal of 
leeway in the matter of main divisions in his outline and 
composition, as many being permitted him as his knowl- 
edge and reason can show to be consistent. We saw how 
elastic the plans in Chapter I are. Some people may eat six 
meals a day ; some, only two. The former would therefore 
probably divide their plan into six main divisions ; the latter, 
into only two. We shall see in the next chapter that this is 
not true of the Formal Plan. It is hard and fast in its main 
divisions of subject-matter, though it allows much oppor- 
tunity for subdivision within these parts. 

If now our parents could look at the plan we have made 
for the composition they asked us to write for them, we 
think that they could get a fairly good idea of wh^t 'QWV 


club is like. Indeed, it is sufficiently detailed to enable us 
to stand up before an audience and talk freely and con- 
nectedly under its guidance. But since our parents wanted 
us to write a composition, we should go to work and de- 
velop this skeleton into a piece of consecutive writing, be- 
ing careful to vary the length of our sentences (see Chap- 
ter IX). Perhaps it will be most convenient for us to 
divide our composition into five paragraphs, — elaborating 
the first four topics in the first, and giving each of the fol- 
lowing main divisions of our plan a paragraph to itself. 
It is quite possible however that topic VII will require two 
paragraphs for its development, since it is the most impor- 
tant and has the most subordinate topics to be explained. 
We are not obliged to commence a new paragraph every 
time we take up a new major point of our outline for dis- 
cussion. This may be proper, but it does not necessarily 
follow at all, though it is at first easier for us to do so; 
hence, our direction in Chapter I. Such a procedure in 
the case we are considering would make some of the para- 
graphs absurdly small and detached, many of them con- 
sisting of only one sentence; While there might be 
nothing positively wrong about this, it would make our 
finished work look and sound extremely childish and 


I. Under each one of the following topics write, 
(i) the definition of the topic, and (2) illustrations of it: 

Generic Terms Subdivision 

Specific Terms Uniformity of Expression 

Selection of Material Capitalization 

Arrangement of Material Informal Plan 


II. Select from the following list all the generic 

words; then properly subordinate the remaining specific 
-words. Add more specific words if you can. 
























III. By means of an informal plan, name the charac- 
teristics of the various members of your family. 

IV. Enumerate by means of outline the various 
faults in the following plan. Re-write it correctly (words 
may be added for its improvement, but none taken away) 
and give reasons for your corrections and additions, if any. 

I. Buildings. 

1. kinds 

2. High 

3. Made of iron. 

4. modern improvements 

5. Numerous 

6. houses 

7. comfortable, 

8. offices 

9. Stores 

II. Streets— 

1. they are wide 

2. Length 

3. Beautiful 

4. Paving; 

5. Tracks 

III. we have many parks. 

1. where 

2. names 

3. Animals 


IV. Much Traffic, 

1. cars: 

2. All kinds of wagons 

3. underground, 

4. Elevated Roads 

5. noise 

6. automobiles 

7. horses 

v. a few Monuments: 

1. Longacre square 

2. Union Square 

3. Farragut 

4. Verdi 

5. Lincoln 

VL piers 

1. Harbor good — 

2. deep channel 

3. Ships from everywhere. 

V. Plan and write a composition on each of the fol- 
lowing subjects: — 

My Fishing Trip Our Base-Ball Team 

Our Party My Room 

Playing Wild West Our Class-Room 

An Hour in the Woods Queer Fellows I Have Known 

VI. Produce in class the process you followed in 
making the plans in V ; the process, namely, of first jotting 
things down as they occurred to you, then the rejecting 
such as were not important to your subject in each case, 
and then your meethod or principle of arrangement. 

VII. From each of the following groups of words 
make a plan from which you can write a composition. 



.Words may be added if you wish, but none may be omit- 
ted : — 



















VIII. Select from the following list of words those 
from which you can write a composition; then arrange 
them into a good plan, placing an appropriate title at the 
beginning of the plan : — 








my sisters 


























our conver- 





IX. From the topics given below draw up two plans 
for compositions which they suggest to you. Give appro- 
priate titles to both plans, and write the compositions: — 































X. Make an outline of your day's work, subordinat- 
ing to the second degree as often as possible. 

XI. Show by outline the arrangement of rooms, floor 
by floor, in your school building. Th^U tak^ any one ma- 


jor point and develop it into a detailed outline, subordi- 
nating to the second degree wherever possible. 

XXL Make running and informal plans of the chap- 
ter on page i. Explain the different steps of the process 
in each case, — selecting and subordinating material, ar- 
rangement, etc. 



The Greeks used to compare the parts of a composition 
with those of an animal. They said that as an animal has 
a head, a body, and a tail, so a composition must have a 
beginning, a middle, and an end, and it must as a rule have 
them in the same proportions. These divisions have come 
to be called : — 




and the arrangement is still used to a large extent for 
special forms of composition. It may be applied to almost 
any form of writing that any of us in the ordinary walks 
of life may be called upon to do. It is the kind of scheme 
the speaker frequently takes upon the platform with him 
to glance at from time to time during the course of his 
speech. It is of course a very natural order of develop- 
ment. In the ordinary course of daily affairs we intro- 
duce, then discuss, and then conclude, though we do not 
stop to consider our method. And the three words them- 
selves connote the proportion; the discussion or develop- 
ment of a subject very naturally requires greater space 
and more time than does either its introduction or its con- 
clusion. The type of plan which these three words give 
us is called the formal plan^ — a good title, given it be- 



cause, no matter how broad the subject of our discourse 
may be, it must be confined within these formal limits, 
though the complexities of it can be intricately divided 
and subdivided within these three boundaries. 

Let us consult the plan on "Our Literary Club*' and 
see whether we can adapt it to this more formal type of 
outline. There can be no doubt that the first six major 
topics (Chapter III — Page 23 are introductory; that point 
number VII belongs to the development ; and that the bene- 
fits derived from the club should form the conclusion to 
our composition. We can always discern a certain pre- 
liminary atmosphere about an introductory topic, when we 
hear or see it, that is not present in the other topics. So 
also can we tell the discussion and the conclusion. It 
would be foolish to speak of the benefits of our club be- 
fore we have given a full account of it, for those who 
had followed us would want us to show by our composi- 
tion that there are real benefits, before we deduce them. 
Moreover, every one knows that the salient fe'atures of a 
dub are its meetings and the work that it accomplishes in 
them. Therefore, the bulk or "meat" of our composition 
must deal with this phase of the club work. Perhaps, then, 
bearing these things in mind, we should make a Formal 
Plan of our subject somewhat as follows: — 



1. Name 

2. Meetings 

3. Purposes 

4. Membership 

5. Officers 



1. A Typical Meeting 

a. Call to order 

b. Roll-call 

c. Minutes 

<L Old business 

e. New business 

f. Recitation 

g. Oration 
h. Debate 

i. Extempore speeches 
j. Journal 
k. Criticism 
1. Adjournment 

2. A Special Meeting 

a. Play 

b. Visitors 

I. Benefits 

With but very minor changes and a few omissions we 
have included here all the chief points of our former out- 
line, but we have molded them into a different form or 
arrangement. To some of us this may seem a very much 
more convenient method of planning than the Informal 
Plan. It saves us the trouble of selecting the large major 
topics ourselves, but it in no way relieves us from the busi- 
ness of organizing and subdividing our material minutely. 
It may be that we have not been careful enough by way of 
minute division in transposing our material on "Our Liter- 
ary Club" from the Informal to the Formal Plan. We 
have omitted certain details, but they can be easily under- 
stood or even inserted if it is thought necessary. More- 
over, there may be possibilities of further subordination 
which would help to elucidate the subject. Indeed, points 


a-b-c-d-e under Discussion seem to us to have a somewhat 
different quality from points f-g-h-i-j-k-1. Let us see then 
how we tan further subordinate some of these topics and 
thus give our parents a fuller, more detailed table of con- 
tents of our composition: — 



A. General Organization 

1. Name 

2. Meetings 

3. Purposes 

B. Particular Organization 

1. Membership 

2. Officers 


A. Meetings 

1. A typical meeting 

a. Routine 

(i) Call to order 

(2) Roll-call 

(3) Minutes 

(4) Old business 

(5) New business 

b. Program 

(i) Recitation 

(2) Oration 

(3) Debate 

(4) Extempore speeches 

(5) Journal 

(6) Criticism 

(7) Adjournment 

2. A special meeting 

a. Play 

b. Visitors 



A. Benefits 

1. Valuable training 

2. Attention 

3. Order 

4. Prizes 

This, we think, presents a much clearer, more graphic 
view of our subject than our former plan. Of course we 
could make it still more detailed, if there were good reason 
for doing so. We could enumerate under the subordinate 
topics of the second degree in the Introduction those points 
which belong to each ; for instance, under "name" we could 
place **Emerson";. under "meetings" we could write "time" 
and *'place" and so on. So, also, in the Discussion we 
could subordinate still further almost every point pre- 
sented. Though subordination to such an extent may not 
be necessary, yet it may have its advantages; for the more 
elaborate and detailed our outline is, the less will there be 
left for us to do when we come to write the composition. 
Let us once again therefore reproduce our plan, this time 
as fully as would ever be necessary for all practical pur- 
poses : — 



•A. Organization 
I. General 

a. Name 

(i) Emerson 

b. Meetings 

(i) Place 
(2) Time 

c. Purpose 

(i) Social aims 
(2) Intellectual aims 


2. Particular 

a. Membership 

(0 Age 

(2) Number 

(3) Initiation 

(4) Expenses 

b. Officers 

(i) Director 

(2) President 

(3) Vice-president 

(4) Secretary 

(5) Treasurer 

(6) Critic 


A. Meetings 

I. A typical meeting 

a. Routine 

(i) Call to order 

(a) Obedience 

(2) Roll-call 

(a) Response 

(b) Absentees 

(3) Minutes 

(a) Corrections 

(b) Adoption 

(4) Old business 

(a) Re-discussion 

(b) Decision 

(5) New business 

(a) Inter-club correspondence 

(b) Bills and dues 

(c) Advance program 

b. Program 

(i) Recitation 

(a) Character 

(b) Applause 


(2) Oration 

(a) Subject 

(b) Eloquence 
'(c) Applause 

(3) Debate 

(a) Question 

(b) Arguments 

(c) Judges' decision 

(4) Extempore speeches 

(a) Variety 

(b) Cleverness 

(5) Journal 

(a) Humorous review 

(b) Appreciation 

(6) Criticism 

(a) Benefits 

(7) Adjournment 
2. A special meeting 

a. Play 

(i) Modern drama 
(2) Theater 
^ (3) Great event 

b. Visitors 

(i) Friends 

(2) Relatives 

(3) Dramatic critics 

A. Benefits 

1, Valuable training 

a. Speaking 

b. Argument 

c. Information 

2. Attention 

a. Self-control 


3. Order 

a. Parliamentary proceeding 

4. Prizes 

a. Books 

b. Medals 

It is not often of course that we shall be called upon to 
elaborate our plans quite as fully as this one has been 
elaborated. Everything depends upon the scope which we 
wish our composition to cover. If we are to explain our 
club to a friend who is a member of a club similar to ours 
in another city, why, to be sure we shall not be obliged 
to go into minute details about those things that are com- 
mon to all clubs; such as officers, business routine, bene- 
fits, etc. These matters would be understood by him for 
they are commonplaces of his own club work. In such a 
case, then, the scope of our work should wisely be narrowed 
to those points in which we feel our club to be unique or 
different from other clubs. But being asked by our 
parents, or by some one else, who had never seen or heard 
about such a club, our problem would be vastly changed. 
The scope of our composition would immediately become 
widened and we should be obliged to go into detail in 
dealing with the most obvious considerations about the 
club, as we have done above. We shall learn more 
about this adaptation of our compositions to our read- 
ers when we come to study Point of View and Purpose in 
Chapter VII. 

We have seen from our illustrative plan that though 
the Formal Plan confines us to the three major .divisions, — 
Introduction, Discussion and Conclusion, — it in no way 
limits our extensive subdivision of subordinate topics. It 
gives us almost as much freedom as does the Informal 



Plan. In fact, we might justifiably prefer always to draw 
up an Informal Plan for our composition, and then divide 
it into these three cardinal portions. Take, for instance, 
our first plan on "What I Ate Yesterday" : — 

2 J 


« 1 
















Afternoon Tea 





6 ■ 



We may permit it to stand just exactly as it was drawn 
informally, and place the names of our three great formal 
divisions above or around the parts to which they respec- 
tively belong. The good Informal Plan can nearly always 
be fitted into these formal divisions, and, conversely, the 
good Formal Plan can as a rule permit, without any detri- 
ment whatever, these three terms to be removed, and thus 
be resolved into the Informal Plan. We shall see in a 
little while that they are not always interchangeable — 
writing would become a very sorry and a very mechanical 
business if they were, — ^but for most ordinary purposes the 
one may be used instead of the other, the one will very 
often be found to be the other. At best, they only repre- 
sent two ways of doing the same thing. 

We have noticed by this time that, as the subdivision 
of parts in our outline becomes more and more detailed, 
so our system of marking those parts in order to keep thern 
distinct from one another becomes more and more compli- 
cated. Just a word may be necessary here about this con- 
sistent TABULATION, or this numbering and lettering of the 


various degrees of subordination. In simple plans of but 
one or two degrees of subordination we may use large 
Roman numerals for the topics of first importance and 
Arabic numerals for those next in importance. If the plan 
be carried one degree further we may use small letters. 
Thus, we may have 

I. I. 

X. I. 

2. or 2. 

3* a. 

n. b. 

Z. iC. 

2. 3* 



as the case may be. In more complex plans, however, such 
as OUR LITERARY CLUB has growu to be, the large Roman 
numerals are used to denote points of the highest impor- 
tance and capital letters are used for those points next in 
importance. The Arabic numerals are used to designate the 
next degree of subordination, and small letters for the 
next ; thus 

I. I. 

A. A. 

B. but not B. 
I. I. 

2. 2. 

3. 3- 

a. a — 

b. b— 

n. n— 

We must be careful not only to have a separate notation 
or tabulation for each grade of subordination, but we must 


be equally careful to place each one of these grades on a 
margin of its own, inserting it slightly to the right under 
the major topic to which it properly belongs. There must 
in other words be as many margins as there are grades of 
subordination. The large Roman numerals establish one; 
the capital letters, another ; and so on, as above. In subor- 
dinating our topics beyond the third degree we simply re- 
peat the last number and letter, but we place them in paren- 
theses : — 



I — 

a — 


If still further subdivision be required, we may use the 
parenthetical tabulations with the prime mark ' : — 









This gives us unlimited range of extension, for we can 
now consistently continue by means of the double prime ' ', 
the triple prime ' ' \ and so forth. We shall find many 
disagreements among authorities as to this matter of tabu- 
lation, and there are many methods quite as good as the 
one here presented. Indeed, we may find many that will 
suit our individual tastes better; but the important thing 
is, to have one consistent method of tabulation and to hold 
to that. It is not likely that we shall often be called upon 


to subordinate further than six places, and the system 
which we have used in our outline and illustrated just 
above will be found quite convenient and practicable. 

It will be noticed that after the figures and letters used 
in tabulating our topics we have sometimes used a period, 
and sometimes a dash. One or the other should always 
be placed after the figure or the letter used. This separates 
the writing from the tabulation and prevents confusion. 
Here, as elsewhere, however, we must be systematic. We 
should not use the period sometimes and the dash at other 
times in the same plan. 

It is always well to be simple in whatever we do, and 
this applies no less to our work in composition than in 
other things. It is possible that we ourselves may "get 
lost" in the involutions and entanglements of our plans if 
we are over-insistent upon a too severe subdivision of sub- 
ject matter. Of course all depends upon our audience and 
our knowledge of the matter in hand. We may avoid this 
danger sometimes by combining the running plan with the 
graphic plan. This will not only relieve us from a too- 
puzzling tabulation, but, what is quite as important, it will 
save space for us as well. The degrees of subordination 
may be shown in the running portion of the plan by means 
of large and small writing, and also by systematic capitali- 
zation and spacing. The main points (I and A) only 
are kept in the graphic form, all others being condensed to 
the more solidly written running arrangement. Thus, the 
introduction of our last plan might be written as follows : — 

I. I-N-T-R-0-D-U-C-T-I-O-N 

A. ORGANIZATION, General :— Name— Emerson. Meet- 
ings — place, time. Pur- 
poses — social aims, intel- 
lectual aims. 


B. ORGANIZATION, Particular . — Membership — 

age, number, initiation, 
expenses. Officers — di- 
rector, president, vice- 
president, secretary, 
treasurer, critic. 

II. D-I-S-C-U-S-S-I-O-N 

If we study this carefully we shall see that we have here 
kept our grades of subordination quite distinct by means 
of spacing and capitalization, and by the running-graphic 
arrangement have used hardly half as much space as was 
used in our Formal Plan. We have, moreover, omitted 
none of the points there included. It is probable that such 
a plan as this, carried to great detail, is never quite as clear 
to one who is a stranger to the subject we happen to be 
developing. It presents lucidly only the salient features, 
leaving the others somewhat obscure to the unacquainted 
or undisciplined mind. On the other hand it is one of 
the very best plans when minute development is required 
for the benefit of those of our readers who are in the habit 
of mental organizing ; our parents, for instance, might have 
considerable difficulty in deciphering the meaning from our 
plan under certain headings, whereas our young club 
friend from another city would see at once what the rela- 
tions and meanings of our topics are. 

The name we have given this type of plan — running- 
graphic — defines it at the same time that it gives us a 
clear title for distinguishing it. It is well, however, to 
remember that nomenclature is only a means to an end. 
We must never enslave ourselves to it. We must never 
over-accent names at the sacrifice of getting what they stand 
for. It matters little what a thing is called so long as we 
understand the thing itself. It matters not very much how 


we tabulate our plan or what method we follow in drawing 
it up, so long" as, when done, it presents a sequential, con- 
sistent, understandable development of our subject. In 
fact, we need not bother with numbers and letters at all, 
provided we are careful to show the inter-relation of topics 
by straight margins. It might be quite as well to outline 
in this way : — 

without any tabulation whatever; only we should not be 
able to refer so easily and so quickly to any one point (see 
Chapter II, Page 14). Even these three terms: Introduc- 
tion, Discussion, Conclusion, are variously called 


and very often we will find that we can dispense with any 
or all of these names and apportion the parts they stand for 
by means of lines to show the proportion : — 












And if we can keep our subject-matter clear by this means 
and can make ourselves understood, we are perfectly justi- 
fied always in reducing technicalities to a minimum. We 
must know the meanings of some technical terms, but the 
terms themselves we must always assign to a subordinate 
place in our minds. 

So far in our study of plan building we have dealt only 
with the regular, most obvious, most common types of de- 
velopment ; the development, that is, that starts with the be- 
ginnings of things, traces their growth and maturity, and 
then concludes. This we have called the natural method, 
because we observe that Nature in all her processes follows 
this arrangement. She first germinates the seed; then she 
develops the luxuriant tree; and then there follow the dis- 
integration and decay. We see the same thing in youth, 
middle life, and old age; in morning, noon, and night; in 
the source, course, and mouth of a river; and in the many 
other manifestations of natural phenomena. And we are 
all aware that the number three, in addition to its being a 
natural number, is also a sacred number, sometimes called 
"the figure of the gods". 

But, as we have already probably surmised, it does not 
always follow that, in planning a composition, this natural 
order should be observed. For the most part it should be, 
particularly in certain types of composition, as we shall 
see hereafter. But in certain other types we shall see that 
very often it should not be followed. The thing that we 
have been trying to learn so far is that we must attain 
to the high habit of ordered, consistent thinking, and make 
our composition work reflect this habit. To this end we 
have found the study of the chronological, natural-order 
plan a good deal more valuable than the study of any other 


could possibly have been. When we come to study Narra- 
tion and Description, we shall find that there are many vari- 
ations from this type, all of which may be as systematic and 
orderly as those we have studied. 

It is perhaps too much to say that there are as many 
good ways of telling a story as there are people to tell it. 
But there c?in be no doubt that in our reading, if we have 
been observant, we have discovered more than one method 
of story telling. Coleridge, for instance, in The Ancient 
Mariner, starts the story at once and even concludes it be- 
fore he gives any introduction to it. We recall that at the 
very outset an ancient mariner stopped a wedding guest on 
his way to a wedding, and, from that incident on, the story 
never slackens until the mariner is safely delivered into 
the hands of the hermit. Then the poet tells us how and 
why and where and when it all came about. The mariner 
it seems was obliged to tell his story at certain stated inter- 
vals, because of a "spell" which came upon him, and in- 
tuitively he knew the man who must hear him when he 
saw him. We see then that Coleridge arranged his poem 
in this wise : — 




and we understand of course the advantages of this arrange- 
ment in this particular case. The "spell" comes suddenly 
and the instant it comes the mariner must tell his story. 
It is fiarticularly urgent that he tell it this time for it just 
happens that the right man appears at the psychological 
moment. The poet would therefore not be true to the nat- 
ural circumstances of the case were he to tarry at the outset 
with a long introduction. In other words Coleridge starts 


his story of the mariner's story as the mariner himself was 
obliged for physical, mental, spiritual reasons to begin. 
Thus his handling of the tale has been in keeping and very 
natural in the light of the unnatural and weird circum- 

Again, in many of Poe's "Tales" we find that the author 
not only omits a conclusion altogether but, like Coleridge, 
begins his story at once, the introductory elements being 
brought out incidentally as we proceed with the unfolding 
of the interesting events. On the other hand we recall that 
in Scott's Ivanhoe, in Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, in 
Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield, and in the many other 
classics we have read, a more or less strict adherence to the 
arrangement observed in our literary club has been the 

The important thing for us to remember is that Cole- 
ridge and Poe and their host of fellow-writers have some 
definite plan which they definitely follow. There is nothing 
haphazard about their arrangement of material, as we can 
easily understand if we examine a few specimens of their 
work. We shall find that they have simply adapted their 
method of telling their stories to the conditions which 
the story demands in each case. They have only been care- 
ful to adjust method to matter. To be sure an author may, 
in order to produce an effect, make his story seem 
to lack plan. Lowell, for instance, in his The Vision of 
Sir Launfal, purposely gives something of dreamlike ir- 
regularity and spirit to his poem because it is the vision of 
Sir Launfal, but he always does so consistently and sys- 

If we cared to we might very easily omit the introduc- 
tion to our elaborate plan a few pages back, bringing out the 
points contained therein incidentally under the discussion : — 



A. Meetings 

I. A typical meeting 
a. Routine 

(i) Call to order by president 
(a) Obedience 

(2) Roll-call by secretary 

(a) Response 

(b) Absentees 

(3) Minutes 

(a) Time and place of meeting and 

name of club revealed in 
opening sentence — "The 
Emerson Literary Club as- 
sembled in school building 
last Thursday evening at 8 

(b) Corrections 

(c) Adoption 

(4) Old business 

(a) Re-discussion 

(i) of things pertaining* to 
purposes of club, perhaps, 
or to membership 

(b) Decision 

(5) New business 

(a) Matters may have come up per- 
taining to the treasurer or 

We shall find by comparison that most of the points in 
the Introduction are now mentioned in one place or another 
under the Discussion. At least a method for omitting- the 
Introduction has been found. This is not of course a wise 
arrangement in our particular case. We need to dwell at 
some little length on the preliminary matter contained in 
our Introduction because our parents, for whom we are writ- 


ing" the composition and whom we must ever keep in mind 
therefore, presumably know nothing whatever about our 
club. But if we were writing for one' who is versed in club 
organization, and who wants more especially to know how 
we conduct our meetings, such details as officers, expenses, 
purposes, etc., if mentioned at all, might very properly be 
assigned an incidental place in our plan. The same process 
could also be followed in the Conclusion. Such an arrange- 
ment would of course make the plan Informal. 

We shall learn a little later (Chapter VII) more exactly 
how to be guided in attacking and developing a subject un- 
der various circumstances. It is enough for the present to 
fix in our minds immovably the few principles we have 
already learned about planning a composition, and to be 
able to apply these principles to the work asked for in the 
following exercise. 


I. Show by means of outline what you understand 
by each of the following: — 

The Formal Plan 

Degrees of Subordination 

Scope of Subject • 

Formal vs. Informal Plans 


The Running-Graphic Plan 

Caution Regarding Names 

II. Make an outline of the material contained in the 
last eight paragraphs of this chapter. 

III. Make an Informal Plan for each of the follow- 
ing topics and then convert it into a Formal Plan : — 

At the Rink 
Our Debate 


An Afternoon in the Park 
Games I Can Play 
Baseball — The Diamond 
Baseball — The Game 
Football — ^The Gridiron 
Football— The Game 
A Great Address That I Heard 
Happenings at Noon Recess 

IV. From the following suggestions write a sketch 
of Tabby, making first a careful Formal Plan : — 

Tabby was an exceptional cat. In appearance she was 
beautiful; in disposition, lovable; in behavior, exemplary. 
Everybody was kind to Tabby because Tabby was kind to 

V. Draw up three plans — Formal, Informal, and 
Running-graphic — of the whole series of events summar- 
ized below. Write the composition from one of them. 

On the way to school this morning Tom fell before a 
car and was seriously hurt. The ambulance was called; 
a crowd gathered; and the motor-man was arrested. It 
fell to your lot to return to Tom's home and tell his 
mother of the catastrophe, and then accompany her to the 

VI. Make a Formal Plan for a composition you 
would write on "J^^^'s Arrest". 

. Deal with the cause of arrest, the actual arrest, and the 

VII. Suppose that in one of your classes to-day the 
following incidents took place, — failure, disobedience, acci- 
dent, visit. Plan and write a composition entitled "An 
Exciting Recitation''. 

VIII. Enumerate in two different kinds of plans all 
the events you have read of in the newspapers the past 


week. Make your first plan Informal, enumerating these 
items chronologically ; make your second, Formal, enumera- 
ting the most important notices under Discussion. Explain 
why you have or have not a conclusion. 

IX. Make a Formal Plan of a trip you have some 
time taken or one that you contemplate taking, or would 
like to take. 

X. Make a Formal Plan of everything you noticed 
on your way to school this morning. Indicate subordi- 
nately * means of travel and the route taken. 

XI. Draw up a plan for a composition to be written 
on : "My Reading for the Past Year", indicating authors, 
titles, kinds of reading, and reasons for your liking or dis- 
liking the various books. 

XII. Review mentally the different short stories or 
poems you have read recently, in or out of school, and show 
by plan how they have been developed. 

Have they followed chronological order? 
Have they been developed formally? 
Have they omitted Introduction or Conclusion? 
If either or both, why? 



A paragraph is a coherently arranged group of sen- 
tences all dealing with a single idea. This idea may be 
but a portion of a larger idea, but, if so, it is a portion that 
stands out distinctly as a justifiable and natural section of 
the larger one. If we were to write a composition on such 
a subject as "Street Paving", naturally we would not tell 
all we know about street paving in one long, undivided 
theme, but we would very properly consider the various 
kinds of street paving we are familiar with, and then devote 
a section of our composition to each kind. These sections 
would be our paragraphs. We might, to be sure, preface 
or conclude our sketch with a paragraph, speaking of street 
paving in a general way, but only as an introduction to or 
summary of our more detailed account. Thus, while our 
principal theme would be ''Street Paving", that idea or 
theme would be divided into several subordinate ones, each 
a complete idea in itself, yet each belonging to the generic 
title. Let us briefly indicate this paragraph division by 
plan : — 

I. Street Paving 

1. Cobblestones 

2. Belgian blocks 

3. Asphalt 

4. Macadam 

5. Wooden blocks 



Let us suppose this to represent one person's knowledge 
of the subject under consideration. Roughly speaking we 
might therefore have six paragraphs, all related closely to 
one another, yet all belonging to the general subject ''Street 
Paving". We would designate the transition in our com- 
position from one of these divisions to another by means of 
establishing a new or paragraph margin ; that is, by insert- 
ing the first line of every paragraph about a half inch far- 
ther to the right than the beginnings of the ordinary lines. 
We can get a good idea of the relation between these tw0 
margins — ^the line margin and the paragraph margin — ^by 
glancing at almost any page in this book. 

As to the length of paragraphs there can be no rule 
laid down, for the subject-matter must always decide this 
issue for us. Most of us no doubt could write more about 
some one type of paving than we could about any one of 
the other kinds mentioned ; if we had a large knowledge of 
asphalt paving, for instance, or if our fathers were experts 
in macadamizing we might write considerably more about 
one of these particular types. It might become necessary 
indeed for us to allot to any one or all of these topics more 
than one paragraph, according as our knowledge varied. 

We should guard against writing excessively long para- 
graphs just as strongly as we should against writing para- 
graphs of only one or two sentences. The excessively long 
ones, used habitually, tend to make our work heavy and 
difficult to understand ; the very short ones make our work 
choppy, detached and confused. If we study our plans 
carefully before starting to write our compositions, we can 
usually find excellent possibilities for adjusting the matter 
to be contained in the composition into paragraphs of rea- 
sonable and varied lengths. There may be occasions of 
course when we shall have to go to extremes, one way or 


the other, in the division of our paragraphs. A case in 
point is in the writing of conversation. If it be continued 
for some length we may with perfect correctness have some 
very short paragraphs. Let us examine the following : — 

"Hello, John," said Bill. 

"Hello, old fellow! Where are you going?" 

"O, just down the street for mother." 

"May I come along?" asked John. 

"Yes, if you'll carry some of my packages coming back*', re- 
plied Bill, with an eye for business. 

"It's a go !" exclaimed John. 

The two trudged off together as if their quarrel of yesterday 
had never happened, John taking Bill's hand before they were out 
of sight. 

Here we have some paragraphs of but a few words, and 
they might have been even briefer than they are. It may 
be equally necessary for us at times to write a very long 
paragraph, especially if we are dealing with a subject that 
does not lend itself easily to subdivision. Where this is 
the case, we should frequently mention our subject in the 
course of the paragraph so that the reader will not be 
obliged to refer back. Further directions will be g-iven 
about the long paragraph when we come to the study of 
topic sentences a little later. 

Let us now examine this conversation a bit more closely. 
Our title for the passage might very appropriately be **The 
Conversation of John and Bill". Each paragraph deals 
with a separate idea under this heading, yet all the ideas 
are related or unified under it. When therefore conversa- 
tion is carried to some length, through several responses, 
each response, however short, should constitute a separate 
paragraph. This may mean, as just stated, that we shall 
sometimes have paragraphs containing but a single word. 


When however the conversation is very brief, consisting, it 
may be, of but a single question and answer, the conversa- 
tional matter may very properly be placed within a single 
paragraph. Authors vary widely in this and unfortunately 
individual authors are not always consistent. Sometimes 
the same author will paragraph every whit of conversation, 
and at others will include conversation of three or four re- 
sponses in a solid paragraph. We shall be well advised to 
follow the rule laid down above and here illustrated 
further : — 

The two boys trudged off together as if their quarrel of yes- 
terday had never happened, John taking Bill's hand before they 
were out of sight. They walked in silence for some time. Then 
Bill said, "I thought you were angry." There was another long si- 
lence before any reply was made. Finally John said, sheepishly, 
"I was, but I'm all right now." 

Here we have a brief conversation included in a single 
paragraph, instead of in four, the number that would be 
required were we to paragraph the conversation. We have 
moreover simplified the subject-matter and saved much 
space. On the other hand we have lost the picture or 
graphic effect that the paragraphed conversation always 
gives us. In conclusion then let us remember that where 
the conversation is very slight we should not paragraph it; 
where it is more or less extended we should paragraph every 
single contribution to it. In all cases of writing conversa- 
tion we must be careful of course to punctuate accurately 
(see Chapter XVI). 

But we are studying planning, and in this chapter it is 
our business therefore to deal with the average paragraph, 
not with the short question and answer paragraph. Wher- 
ever in conversation we have a long passage to record, all 


spoken by one person, we must observe the same rules for 
paragraphing as we would observe in any other style of 
writing. So much has been said about the writing of con- 
versation only because it is a subject upon which there is 
much confusion in the minds of pupils and because so many 
errors in such writing are constantly made. 

In the ordinary paragraph — in the paragraph, that is, 
other than the conversational — ^we have something of a 
miniature formal plan : that is to say, we have something 
very like Introduction, Discussion, and Conclusion. We 
call the introduction of a paragraph the topic sentence. 
Usually it is the first sentence in the paragraplt and con- 
tains a general statement of what the paragraph is to con- 
tain. Sometimes it is the second or even the third sentence 
in the paragraph, and in paragraphs of a certain type it may 
stand in the very middle. Only a certain part of such a 
sentence may form the actual topic portion of the para- 
graph. This is most often the case when the topic sen- 
tence is a long, highly modified sentence. It is perfectly 
easy to discern the general nature of the following sen- 
tences : — 

(a) Jim's badness exhibited itself in many ways. 

(b) It was a perfect morning in the hills. 

(c) Mary was very different from her sister Anne. 

(d) Reaching the summit of the Alpine peak after a whole 
day's struggle, we were amazed at the majestic panorama 
of nature that stretched inimitably on all sides of us. 

(e) On entering the room I felt a strange influence. 

Every one of these sentences suggests more to follow. 
Every one of them, though complete and declarative in it- 
self, shows an insufficiency of information. Every one of 
them is a subject or title or topic sentence in and of itself. 
To prove this we can easily convert each one into a title : — 


(a) Jim's Badness 

(b) A Perfect Morning in the Hills 

(c) The Difference between Mary and Anne 

(d) The View from the Mountain Top 

(e) The Strange Influence of a Room 

and thus get at the very essence of the contents of our para- 
graph. The words culled out of the topic sentences above 
in order to get a definite title for each one are called key- 
words. These are the words with which we must concern 
ourselves immediately when we come to develop our para- 
graph from the topic sentence. It is well to underline them 
in our sentences in "order better to concentrate upon them, 
and in order to prevent our wandering from the subject. 
Particularly is this true in a long topic sentence, such as 
(d), only a small part of which is topic in its nature. The 
actual topic portion of (d) commences with the word 
"we" and concludes with the word "nature", the other 
parts of the sentence being merely modifiers of this central 

The conclusion of a paragraph we call the summary 
SENTENCE of the paragraph. Like the topic sentence it 
has an atmosphere of its own, something within it that sug- 
gests its summarizing nature ; so that, as a rule, we can tell 
by reading it that it is a concluding element. Frequently 
we shall find it beginning with such words or phrases as, 
"in short", "therefore", "as a result", "consequently", etc., 
all of which suggest endings or conclusions to us. The fol- 
lowing are good illustrations of summary sentences : — 

(a) I think you will agree then that Mr. B. should be elected. 

(b) In short we were all as eager for the return as we had 
been for the start. 

(c) The whole picture indeed was calculated to give one the 
impression of horror. 


(d) Whether it was one of these things, or whether it was all 
of them combined that produced such ill effects upon me, I 
cannot say. 

(e) John therefore decided that he had better remain at home. 

We will notice that in these summary sentences we also 
have KEY-WORDS, — words, that is, that seem to infer that 
some explanation has gone before. We could have seen 
these words at once had our attention not been called to 
them by the italics. We must notice also in passing- that, 
were these suggestive words omitted, we should have left 
sentences that might almost as well be used for topic sen- 
tences as for summaries. Indeed, (c) as it stands above 
is really either -topic or summary. Let us see how the 
sentences will read when the words that suggest the sum- 
mary characteristic are omitted : — 

(a) I think you will agree that Mr. B. should be elected. 

(b) We were all as eager for the return as we had been for 
the start. 

(c) The whole picture was calculated to give one the impres- 
sion of horror. 

(d) Whether it was one thing or all the things combined that 
produced ill effects upon me, I cannot say. 

(e) John decided that he had better remain at home. 

Here, by means of very slight changes, by way of omis- 
sions, we have converted the summary sentences into topic 
sentences. By the insertion of a single word or a short 
phrase we may likewise convert most of our topic sentences 
into summary sentences, 
y This interchangeableness of topic and summary sentences 

confronts. us with the fact that it may be useless repetition 
to have both kinds in a single paragraph. In most cases 
one such general sentence is quite sufficient for the average 


paragraph. If we work consistently from a good topic 
sentence, or toward a good summary sentence, our para- 
graph will probably be clear, concise, and adherent. By 
having both topic and summary sentences in our paragraph 
we may procure for it emphasis and finish, and these are 
two important elements. We shall be far more emphatic 
if we accent our subject both at the beginning and at the 
end; and we shall perhaps give a certain rounded finish or 
completion or "frame'' to our paragraph by referring to 
our subject both at the beginning and at the end. If we 
examine closely we shall find that the best writers always 
have one or the other of these sentences clearly stated, and 
oftentimes we shall find both in their paragraphs. It is 
evident of course that, in long paragraphs, where the 
thought is more or less involved, and where the open- 
ing of the paragraph may be forgotten before the end is 
reached, the use of both types of sentence is a distinct ad- 
vantage for the sake of clearness alone. 

Let us now study the paragraph plan, keeping con- 
stantly in mind what was said in chapter one about plan- 
ning in general. We must not presume for a moment that 
successful writers go about their work paragraph by para- 
graph in this mechanical way. On the contrary they can 
write or dictate paragraphs fluently, knowing that they will 
be coherent, because they have acquired the habit of clear, 
orderly, consecutive thinking. 

If we are going to develop our paragraph from a topic 
sentence, we should first write the sentence, initialing it 
T. S., and then briefly and uniformly write down the points 
we mean to make in the paragraph. If we develop our 
paragraph toward a summary sentence, we should make 
the plan first and write the summary sentence at the end, 
initialing it S. S. To illustrate : — 


T. S. The city was in gala array for the great celebration. 

1. Flags 

2. Flowers 

3. Stands 

4. Arches 

5. Pillars 

6. Illumination 

1. Flags 

2. Flowers 

3. Stands 

4. Arches 

5. Pillars 

6. Illumination 

S. S. There'could be no doubt whatever but that the city 
was in gala array for the great celebration. 

Now we have the whole plan clearly and definitely be- 
fore us and we cannot possibly go wrong in writing our 
paragraph unless our plan be wrong. There is not a single 
major topic in our plan but refers to the key-words of our 
topic or summary sentence. The words of these topics we 
call ECHO-WORDS. They echo or repeat the idea contained 
in the key-words. They are specific; the key-words are 
generic. The key-word is equivalent to the total number 
of echo words, if we are careful to get the proper adjust- 
ment between them. Yet there should be no tiresome repe- 
tition. We must not repeat the key-word, but, rather, give 
additional detailed information about it. "Gala Array'*= 
Flags + Flowers -}- Stands -f- etc. This is our paragraph 
equation. We will now solve the problem : 

The city was in gala array for the great celebration. All the 
principal streets were decorated with multitudinous flags. Gi- 
gantic "Stars and Stripes" were suspended between opposite build- 
ings, and hoisted on the flag-staffs of the great offices and of the 


houses of the rich. Even the smallest window showed its symbol 
of our national greatness in the public rejoicing. The "Union 
Jack" of England, the Tricolor of our great sister Republic of 
France, the emblems of Germany, Russia, and Italy, and the 
^'Rising Sun" of Japan, all helped in the dazzling splendor. 
Wreaths and decorative symbols of real flowers were displayed on 
many houses. Garlands of paper Howers hung from balconies and 
porticoes, and were wound around the door-posts of the dwellings 
of the more enthusiastic. At the corners of the streets and other 
points of vantage, stands were erected, where people might sit and 
watch the procession. Here and there triumphal arches were 
constructed, some of them in new and fantastic designs, decorated 
with com, flowers, and the branches of trees. Along the side- 
walks, leading in either direction from these arches, were placed 
many huge pillars, connected by festoons and eloquent with the 
streamers of many colored ribbons that, floated in the breeze from 
their lofty pinnacles. At night the whole was brilliantly illu- 
minated. Red and blue and yellow electric bulbs formed an arena 
of glory in the main street; and many buildings were gracefully 
outlined with these magic lights or surmounted by some attract- 
ive and appropriate electric symbol. 

Or again, let us examine the following : — 

I. The Fair 

I. A great event 

11. The Club 

1. Ten fellows 

2. All-day attendance 

III. John's School Report 

I. Failures 

IV. The Whipping 

I. John's father 

V. John's Debate with Himself 

S. S. After much meditation however John bravely decided 
that it would be better for him not to accompany the fellows on 
their day's outing to the fair. 

It was the great day of the great fair ! There were races, "flip- 
flap", "whoop-la", electric horses, "witching-waves", a water 


chute, and a "Wild West show". The whole country-side would 
doubtless attend, to make the occasion memorable for enjoyment. 
The club to which John belonged had arranged an excursion there 
for the whole day, and they clamored for all their members to 
go. John was in a dilemma! His last school report had been 
a record of failure and disgrace. His work had been poor, and 
his conduct lazy and disorderly, his form-master said. This had 
displeased his father, and John had felt the weight of this. pa- 
ternal displeasure through the agency of a stout cane. He smarted 
at the memory, as he debated with himself the rival claims of 
the excursion and his work at school. After much meditation how- 
ever he decided it would be better for him not to accompany the 
fellows on their day's outing to the fair. 

If now we study these paragraphs carefully we shall see 
that each sentence contains an echo- word or words referring 
directly back to the key-word or words in the topic sentence, 
or directly forward, as the case may be, to the key-word 
in the summary sentence. In some sentences we find many 
echo words and our account has been enriched as a conse- 
quence. This has kept the one idea of the paragraph ever 
foremost and has therefore given unity to it. Again, while 
the paragraphs have sequence and proportion and adherence, 
the idea of each sentence fits closely, is accurately related, 
to what goes before and to what follows. We call this 
perfect dovetailing of ideas coherence. We shall see later 
(Chapter IX) that unity and coherence apply to the whole 
composition quite as much as to the paragraph, which* is a 
composition in miniature. Had it not been for our plans, 
however, these qualities might not have been so clearly evi- 
denced. We might have wandered far away from our sub- 
ject in each case. Our plan has held us to our original idea, 
and has helped us to attain those elements of writing that 
must always be acquired before we can become effective 


We shall be inclined to believe perhaps that we should 
have a topic in our paragraph plan for every sentence in 
our paragraph, just as we thought we should have a para- 
graph in our composition for every major topic in our 
composition plan. This may be a good method to follow, 
but it is not a necessary one. Some points in our plan, par- 
ticularly those that are followed by subordinate topics, may 
require two or three sentences for their development. In 
other cases it may be possible to combine two points in a 
single sentence. So much depends upon the individual 
problem that no hard and fast direction can be given. We 
may say, however, that, as a rule, each point should be a 
sort of lesser key-word, an echo-word, if possible, and that 
at least one whole sentence should be given to its develop- 
ment, or the idea for which it stands should be repeated in 
other words within the same sentence. The illustrations in 
this chapter should be tested in this connection. 

If now we can determine beforehand exactly how many 
paragraphs it will be well for us to include in our composi- 
tion, we can make our work far less difficult by outlining 
these paragraphs consecutively into a Paragraph-composi- 
tion outline. We have seen that the paragraph plan con- 
sists of either topic or summary sentence (or both) with 
the points to be contained in it jotted down in order. In- 
stead of doing this for an isolated paragraph (as in the 
illustrations above) we will now do it for a number of para- 
graphs which have a logical connection with each other. 
Suppose we are to write a composition on "Our City Con- 
veyances". Instead of planning it thus : — 

I. The Various Kinds 

1. Cars 

2. Omnibuses 

3. Carriages 


II. Cars 

1. Surface 

2. Elevated 

3. Underground 

III. Omnibuses 

1. Horse 

2. Electric 

IV. Carriages 

1. Hansoms 

2. Four-wheelers 

3. Taxi-cabs 

we might arrange it as follows : — 

I. T. S. — Travelers in and about the city have their choice 
among various kinds of conveyances. 

1. Cars 

2. Omnibuses 

3. Carriages 

II. T. S. — Perhaps the most popular of these means of tran- 
sit is the railway car. 

1. Surface 

2. Elevated 

3. Underground 

III. T. S. — There are in addition several "bus" lines in tk 
city which facilitate travel for those who desire to go 
in irregular routes. 

1. Horse 

2. Electric 

IV. T. S. — Many carriages ply here and there all day and all 
night, and, though the most expensive means of travel, 
they are the quickest and most comfortable. ^ 

1. Hansoms 

2. Four-wheelers 

3. Taxi-cabs 

Or, instead of writing regularly our topic sentences with 
their points, we might sometimes vary the plan by leading 


into the summary sentence. Particularly would this be a 
good idea for our last paragraph because there in all proba- 
bility we wish to close our composition with an emphatic 
and "finished" conclusion. 

We see of course that this paragraph-composition out- 
line has what we may call a topic * paragraph. The first 
paragraph is obviously intended to be an introductory sec- 
tion, which will contain an enumeration of the different 
kinds of conveyances with slight descriptions, perhaps, of 
each one. Then, in succession, each one will be taken up 
and discussed more fully. This arrangement, like the inter- 
change of topic and summary sentence, might very easily 
be reversed; that is, we might just as properly commence 
our composition immediately with a paragraph about cars 
and close with a concluding or summary paragraph, review- 
ing all that has preceded and commenting generally upon 
the number of conveyances, their comparative merits, uses, 
etc. Of course, as has been previously intimated, it may 
happen that we shall need neither topic nor summary para- 
graph, neither introduction nor conclusion; on the other 
hand we may need to have both for purposes of emphasis 
and clearness. 

The question of paragraph subordination may also arise 
in our consideration of the paragraph-composition plan; 
that is, it may be necessary to write paragraphs subordinate 
to other paragraphs. In our plan, for instance, it is con- 
ceivable that topic II might be divided into three para- 
graphs, — one treating of surface cars ; one of elevated, and 
one of underground. If this plan be followed, we should 
subordinate in the regular way, writing our topic or sum- 
mary sentence for each minor paragraph. The major topic 
sentence will then have the valu^ of a general sentence for 
all three paragraphs, but in writing the composition we 


should place it at the beginning of the first minor paragraph, 
forcing the topic sentence for the first minor paragraph 
into second place. Point number II might according to this 
arrangement be elaborated as follows: — 

II. Major T. S. — Perhaps the most popular of these means of 
transit is the railway car, — surface, elevated or under- 

1. Minor T. S. — Of these, the surface cars are the most 

convenient, though the least rapid. 

1. Cars 

2. Fares 

3. Lines 

4. Delays 

2. Minor T. S. — The elevated service, being above the 

street, is more rapid though less generally used. 

1. Cars 

2. Fares 

3. Entrance and Exit 

4. Service 

5. Accident 

6. Lines 

3. Minor T. S. — The most recently completed and perhaps 

the most satisfactory railway service is the under- 

1. Cars 

2. Fares 
• 3. Entrance and exit 

4. Service 

5. Accident 

6. Lines 

i There are various methods of developing the topic and 
summary sentences of a paragraph, and a Icnowledge of 
these methods is necessary for us in the planning of our 
paragraphs. If for instance we are eager to teach something 
thoroughly, to "drive home" an idea with more than usual 
force in a paragraph, we will accent that idea throughout. 


We may do this by way of repetition, by way of reproof, 
by means of restatement, or by any other means of securing 
emphasis. Whatever be our method of accentuation, our 
object is ever to be thorough in the message we make our 
paragraph convey, and we therefore call this type of devel- 
opment paragraphing by thoroughness. Let us take for 

an illustration of this style of paragraph the following: — 


T. S. You deserved to be whipped for going there. 

1. You should have known better 

2. You had the benefit of seeing others 

3. You had work to do 

4. You were told not to go 


1. A cruel President 

2. An extravagant administration 

3. A dissatisfied people 

4. A low standard of morality 

5. Little money 

6. Much unhappiness 

S. S. In short the crisis in the bad times of the country 
seemed to be at hand. 


What nobler work? How could the Church of God be more 
gloriously propagated? How could higher merit be obtained by 
faithful Catholics? It must succeed. Spain was invincible in val- 
or, inexhaustible in wealth. Heaven itself offered them an oppor- 
tunity. They had nothing now to fear from the Turk, for they 
had concluded a truce with him; nothing from the French, for 
they were embroiled in civil war. The heavens themselves had 
called upon Spain to fulfil her heavenly mission, and restore to 
the Church's crown this brightest and richest of her lost jewels. 
The heavens themselves called to a new crusade. The saints, 
whose altars the English had rifled and profaned, called them to 
a new crusade. The Virgin Queen, q{ Heaven, whqa^ boundless 


stores of grace the English spurned, called them to a new crusade. 
Justly incensed at her own wrongs and indignities, that "ever- 
gracious Virgin, refuge of sinners, and mother of fair love, and 
holy hope," adjured by their knightly honor all valiant cavaliers 
to do battle in her cause against the impious harlot who assumed 
her titles, received from her idolatrous flatterers the homage due 
to Mary alone, and even (for Father Parsons had asserted it, 
therefore it must be true) had caused her name to be substituted 
for that of Mary in the Litanies of the Church. Let all who 
wore within a manly heart, without a manly sword, look on the 
woes of "Mary" — her shame, her tears, her blushes, her heart 
pierced through with daily wounds, from heretic tongues, and 
choose between her and Elizabeth. — From Charles Kingsley's 
Westward Ho! 

In all of these examples we have the matter under dis- 
cussion clearly brought to light by means of a thorough 
surrounding of the subject. It is restated and repeated in 
every possible way. Paragraphs developed by thorough- 
ness are usually expository or argumentative in their nature. 

Sometimes it may be necessary to enumerate in a para- 
graph a series of occurrences in order to satisfy the demands 
of the topic or the summary sentence. When this is so we 
proceed to paragraph by occurrences. We set forth in suc- 
cessive sentences the particular happenings or instances or 
actions or occurrences which elucidate the subject. It is 
well in our topic to include some sort of action word de- 
noting, as it will, an occurrence. Such paragraphs are 
usually narrative, in method at least, though in purpose they 
may be descriptive or expository. To develop such a topic 
sentence for instance as, 

Jim is a very bad fellow, 

we may give occurrences in Jim's life that illustrate his 
badness, and yet our purpose may be to sketch Jim's char- 


acter. Let us develop this and examine two other ex- 
amples : — 

T. S. — ^Jim IS a very bad fellow. 

1. He teases the cat 

2. He forges marks on his report 

3. He plays hookey 

4. He is very tricky 


1. Chasing the pack 

2. Taking the fences 

3. Sighting the deer 

4. Bringing down the game. 

S. S. — Indeed, the Colonel pictured to us every phase of 
his interesting hunt. 


The light was declining: already the candles shone through 
many windows of the Manor. Already the foremost part of the 
crowd had burst into the offices, and adroit men were busy in the 
right places to find plate, after setting others to force the butler 
into unlocking the cellars; and Felix had only just been able to 
force his way on to the front terrace, with the hope of getting 
to the rooms where he would find the ladies of the household and 
comfort them with the assurance that rescue must soon come, 
when the sound of horses* feet convinced him that the rescue was 
nearer than he had expected. Just as he heard the horses, he had 
approached the large window of a room, where a brilliant light 
suspended from the ceiling showed him a group of women cling- 
ing together in terror. Others of the crowd were pushing their 
way up the terrace-steps and gravel-slopes at various points. Hear- 
ing the horses, he kept his post in front of the window, and, mo- 
tioning with his saber, cried out to the on-comers, "Keep back ! I 
hear the soldiers coming." Some scrambled back, some paused 
automatically. — From George Eliot's Felix Holt. 

If we say, "It is a beautiful morning", we imply that 
there are many particulars about the morning which make 


it beautiful. At any rate "beautiful" is our key-word and 
we need to particularize in order to prove that the morning 
is beautiful. Thus, we shall be paragraphing by particu- 
lars. Usually such paragraphs are descriptive or expository 
in nature and the word or the phrasal plan is used in out- 
lining them. The following illustrates this type of para- 
graph development : 

T. S. — It is a beautiful morning. 

1. Sunshine 

2. Clear atmosphere 

3. Moderate warmth 

4. Rich verdure 

5. Singing birds 


1. Low ceilings 

2. Many steps 

3. Damp walls 

4. Small windows 

5. Dark rooms 

S. S. — Considering all these shortcomings, we decided that 
we could never like the old mansion. 


When, issuing from the gorge of a pass which terminated upon 
the lake, the travellers came in sight of the ancient Castle of 
Avenel, the old man paused, and, resting upon his pilgrim staff, 
looked with earnest attention upon the scene before him. The 
castle was, as we have said, in many places ruinous, as was evi- 
dent, even at this distance, by the broken, rugged, and irregular 
outline of the walls and of the towers. In others it seemed more 
entire, and a pillar of dark smoke, which ascended from the chim- 
neys of the donjon, and spread its long dusky pennon through 
the clear ether, indicated that it was inhabited. But no corn- 
fields or enclosed pasture-grounds on the side of the lake showed 
that provident attention to comfort and subsistence which usually 
appeared near the houses of the greater, and even of the lesser 
barons. There were no cottages with their patches of infield, and 


their crofts and gardens, surrounded by rows of massive syca- 
mores ; no church with its simple tower in the valley ; no herds of 
sheep among the hills; no cattle on the lower ground; nothing 
which intimated the occasional prosecution of the arts of peace and 
of industry. It was plain that the inhabitants, whether few or nu- 
merous, must be considered as the garrison of the castle, living 
within its defended precincts, and subsisting by means which were 
other than peaceful.-^From Sir Walter Scott's The Monastery, 

Again, our paragraphs may be developed by means of 
giving in them the impressions we received from the sub- 
ject with which we are dealing. We may tell how a person, 
a place, a thing impressed or influenced us. Our topic or 
our summary sentence will here as elsewhere be our guide. 
Paragraphs developed by impressions are as a rule descrip- 
tive and expository. We may illustrate this type as fol- 
lows : — 

T. S. — On entering the room I was conscious of a strange 
and peculiar influence. 

1. New 

2. Oppressive 

3. Stifling 

4. Unusual 

5. Alarming 


1. Anxiety 

2. Fear 

3. Nervousness 

4. Anger 

S. S. — I decided never to have such a dog in my house 


Beauty, of course, is for the hero. Nevertheless, it is not al- 
ways he on whom beauty works its most conquering influence. It 
is the dull commonplace man into whose slow brain she drops like 


a celestial light, and burns lastingly. The poet, for instance, is a 
connoisseur of beauty: to the artist she is a model. These gen- 
tlemen by much contemplation of her charms wax critical. The 
days when they had hearts being gone, they are haply divided be- 
tween the blonde and the brunette ; the aquiline nose and the Pros- 
erpine ; this shaped eye and that. But go about among simple un- 
professional fellows, boors, dunderheads, and here and there you 
shall find some barbarous intelligence which *has had just strength 
enough to conceive, and has taken Beauty as its Goddess, and 
knows but one form to worship, in its poor stupid fashion, and 
would perish for her. Nay, more: the man would devote all his 
days to her though he is dumb as a dog. And, indeed, he is 
Beauty's Dog. Almost every Beauty has her Dog. The hero pos- 
sesses her; the poet proclaims her; the painter puts her upon can- 
vas ; and the faithful Old Dog follows her : and the end of it all is 
that the faithful Old Dog is her single attendant. Sir Hero is 
reveling in the wars, or in Armida's bowers ; Mr. Poet has spied a 
wrinkle ; the brush is for the rose in its season. She turns to her 
Old Dog then. She hugs him; and he, who has subsisted on a 
bone and a pat till there he squats decrepit, he turns his grateful 
old eyes up to her, and has not a notion that she is hugging sad 
memories in him : Hero, Poet, Painter, in one scrubby one ! Then 
is she buried, and the village hears languid howls, and there is a 
paragraph in the newspapers concerning the extraordinary fidelity 
of an Old Dog. — From George Meredith's The Ordeal of Richard 

Lastly, we must examine a little the paragraph of con- 
trast, — a paragraph in which two or more persons, scenes, 
or objects are compared or contrasted. In such paragraphs, 
particularly where only two things are contrasted, the topic 
sentence may stand in the very middle of the paragraph, 
the first part being devoted to a discussion of the one ; the 
second part, to a discussion of the other. Thus, if we were 
writing a paragraph contrast of Rebecca and Rowena, the 
two heroines in Scott's Ivanhoe, we might plan it as fol- 
lows : — 


I. Rebecca 

1. Dark 

2. Courageous 

3. Uncompromising 

"T. S. — Whereas, her sister-character in the great story is 
quite the opposite. 

II. Rowena 

1. Light 

2. Passive 

3. Yielding 

The topic sentence may also here, as in the other types 
of paragraph, stand at the beginning. The development 
may then be made by alternating sentences, the first deal- 
ing with the first member of the contrast ; the second, with 
the other, and so forth. 

T. S. — Rebecca and Rowena differed widely in appearance and 

I. Appearance 

1. Rebecca, dark 

2. Rowena, light 

3. Rebecca, Jewish type 

4. Rowena, Saxon type 

II. Character 

1. Rebecca, courageous 

2. Rowena, resigned 

3. Rebecca, uncompromising 

4. Rowena, yielding 

Or here, as in our former examples, the development may 
lead into a summary sentence. The following paragraph 
further illustrates this type : — 

Somerset mounted at once to the first story, and opened the 
door of the drawing-room, which was brilliantly lit by several 
lamps. . It was a great apartment; looking on the square with three 


tall windows, and joined by a pair of ample folding^doors to the 
next room; elegant in proportion, papered in sea-green, furnished 
in velvet of a delicate blue, and adorned with a majestic mantel- 
piece of variously tinted marbles. Such was the room that Som- 
erset remembered ; that which he now beheld was changed •in al- 
most every feature: the furniture covered with a figured chintz; 
the walls hung with a rhubarb-colored paper, and diversified by 
the curtained recesses for no less than seven windows. It seemed 
to himself that he must have entered, without observing the transi- 
tion, into the adjoining house. Presently from these more specious 
changes, his eye condescended to the many curious objects with 
which the floor was littered. Here were the locks of dismounted 
pistols; clocks and clockwork in every stage of demolition, some 
still busily ticking, some reduced to their dainty elements ; a great 
company of carboys, jars and bottles; a carpenter's bench and. 
a laboratory-table. — From Robert Louis Stevenson's The Dyna- 
' miter. 

These five methods of paragraph development can very 
easily be "clinched" in our memory by enumerating them 
under one another in the order in which they have been 
discussed and noting the acrostic word, — 






We observe that the initial letters spell "TOPIC", remind- 
ing us very properly of the fact that all our paragraphs, 
whatever their nature, are bred of a topic sentence, or its 


Now it must not be understood that these types of para- 
graph development stand separately and distinctly alone. 
Many of the examples quoted above prove to us quite the 
contrary. We name a paragraph development, from the 


predominant quality of the material used in its development. 
A paragraph that is developed by means of particulars will 
consist mostly of particulars about its subject or key-word, 
but it may also contain occurrences and impressions and the 
other elements in a subordinate place. The same is true of 
a paragraph developed by thopoughness or contrast or any 
of the other methods. It may have other, — many other — 
elements in it, but they must be kept subordinate to the type 
that is being followed. And this major type will always 
be decided for us of course by the topic sentence. It will 
tell us what kind of development it "wants". If, however, 
cases arise where we think that either of two methods may 
be used ^ith equally good results, then we should select the 
one that we think we can handle the better ; or we may 
combine two or three methods in equal proportions in order 
to secure a more perfect development of our subject. When 
this combination is made, we have what is known as the 
composite paragraph. In the first paragraph of Dickens' 
A Tale of Two Cities, which is quoted below, we can see an 
excellent example of this composite type of paragraph. He 
has most skillfully and therefore most readably employed at 
least three methods of paragraph development — particulars, 
impressions, and contrasts — in giving us a picture of the 
period : 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the 
age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of 
belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, 
it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the 
winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing 
before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going 
direct the other way, — in short, the period was so far like the 
present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its 
being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of 
comparison only. 



I. Write out the paragraphs for the illustrative 
paragraph plans that are presented in this chapter. Follow 
the plan closely in each case, and confine yourself to the 
method of development which the plan illustrates. 

II. Plan and write paragraphs from the following 
topic sentences : 

1. I like skating better than sledding. 

2. Jim is a most peculiar chap. 

3. They had a good time at the party. 

4. It was the most wonderful trick I ever saw. 

5. John was scared when he came into the room. 

6. There are three or four different kinds of sleds. 

7. He made us all feel rather queer. 

8. Tricks should always be tempered with common sense. 

9. The room was filled with all sorts of curios. 

10. When it comes to choosing I'll take Bill instead of 
John every time. 

III. Convert the above sentences into summary sen- 
tences and plan paragraphs for them. Explain in a well- 
planned, well-written paragraph 

a. — ^how you made the change from topic to summary, 
b. — how the change aflfects the planning and the wri- 
ting of the paragraph. 

IV. Reduce each of the sentences in Exercise II to 
a single title. 

V. Compose topic sentences illustrative of the five 
(T-O-P-I-C) methods of development. Underline the key- 
word of each and make a list of the following echo-words 
you would use in writing the paragraph. 


VI. Select from some good novel or history (or 
ot^jpr good accessible reading) models of the five different 
types of paragraphs, and deduct outlines from them. 

VII. Select the topic or summary sentence of every 
illustrative paragraph used in this chapter and make a plan 
from which the para'graph might have been constructed. 

VIII. Plan and write a composite paragraph for each 
of the following sentences : — 

1. Mary is too impatient to get on with Elizabeth. 

2. I was very much alarmed when the accident occurred. 

3. He deserved his reproof for he had .deliberately dis- 


4. It was little wonder that a person of such peculiar 

habits amused her. 

5. Whatever happens, he always controls himself. 

IX. Read the following sentence carefully; then 

1. Plan and write the conversation that 
probably took place between the parties. 

2. Plan and write a paragraph giving an 
account of the incident, using little or no con- 

The driver of a street sprinkler drove so close to an open 
street car without turning off the water, that the motorman, the 
conductor, and the passengers were all considerably dampened^ 

X. Make a paragraph-composition plan for each of 
the following topics. Have an introductory or a conclud- 
ing paragraph, or both. 

a. Our Park 

b. Hopewell's Career 

c. The Play 

d. Certain Fellows I Know 
p. Hockey 


XI. Make a paragraph-composition plan of each of 
the following. Indicate by the plan that certain paragraphs 
are to be subordinate to others. Indicate also, on the mar- 
gin^ just what method is to be employed in developing eadi 

a. The Officers of Our Ciub 

b. Our School Teams 

c. The Noon Hour 

d. "Reddy's** Peculiar Manners 

e. A Hopeless Situation 

XIL Select the topic sentence in each of the follow- 
ing paragraphs and deduce a paragraph plan in each case : 

She was well matched by her brother, nearly about her own 
age. He was tall, vigorous, and well-formed, with a clear olive 
complexion, a dark beaming eye, and curling chestnut whiskers 
that met under his chin. He was gallantly dressed in a short 
green velvet jacket, fitted to his shape, profusely decorated with 
silver buttons, with a white handkerchief in each pocket. He 
had breeches of the same, with rows of buttons from the hips to 
the knees; a pink silk handkerchief round his neck, gathered 
through a ring, on the bosom of a neatly plaited shirt ; a sash round 
the waist to match ; high gaiters of the finest russet-leather, elegantly 
worked, and open at the calf to show his stocking; and russet 
shoes, setting off a well-shaped foot. — From Washington Irving's 
The Alhamhra, 

It has always been my endeavor to distinguish between reali- 
ties and appearances, and to separate true merit from the pre- 
tence to it. As it shall ever be my study to make discoveries of 
this nature in human life, and to settle the proper distinctions be- 
tween the virtues and perfections of mankind, and those false col- 
ors and resemblances of them that shine alike in the eyes of 
the vulgar ; so I shall be more particularly careful to search into the 
various merits and pretences of the learned world. This is 
the more necessary, because there seems to be a general combina- 


tion among the Pedants to extol one another's labors, and cry 
up one another's parts; while men of sense, either through that 
modesty which is natural to them, or the scorn they have for such 
trifling commendations, enjoy their stock of knowledge, like a hid- 
den treasure, with satisfaction and silence. Pedantry indeed in 
learning is like hypocrisy in religion, a form of knowledge with- 
out the power of it; that attracts the eyes of the common people; 
breaks out in noise and show; and finds its reward not from any 
inward pleasure that attends it, but from the praises and ap- 
probations which it receives from men. — From Joseph Addison's 
The Tatler. 

First of all, and principally, I believe, the strangeness and sin- 
gularity df its tones; then there was something mysterious and 
uncommon associated with its use. It was not a school language, 
to acquire which was considered an imperative duty; no, no; nor 
was it a drawing-room language, drawled out occasionally, in 
shreds and patches, by the ladies of generals and other great dig- 
nitaries, to the ineffable dismay of poor officers' wives. Nothing 
of the kind ; but a speech spoken in out-of-the-way desolate places, 
and in cut-throat kens, where thirty ruffians, at the sight of the 
king's minions, would spring up with brandished sticks and an 
"ubbubboo, like the blowing up of a powder magazine." Such 
were the points connected with the Irish, which first awakened in 
my mind the desire of acquiring it; and by acquiring it I became, 
as I have already said, enamorecl of languages. Having learnt 
one by chance, I speedily, as the reader will perceive, learnt 
others, some of which were widely different from Irish. — From 
George Borrow's Lavengro. 

A few small houses scattered on either side of the road be- 
token the entrance to some town or village. The lively notes of 
the guard's key-bugle vibrate in the clear cold air, and wake up 
the old gentleman inside, who, carefully letting down the window- 
sash half way, and standing sentry over the air, takes a short peep 
out, and then, carefully pulling it up again, informs the other inside 
that they're going to change directly; on which the other inside 
wakes himself up and determines to postpone his next nap until 
after the stoppage. Again the bugle sounds lustily forth, and 
rouses the cottager's wife and children, who peep out at the house- 


door, and watch the coach till it turns the comer, when they once 
more crouch round the blazing fire, and throw on another log of 
wood against father's coming home, while father himself, a full mile 
off, has just exchanged a friendly nod with the coachman, and 
turned round, to take a good long stare at the vehicle as it whirls 
away. — From Charles Dickens' Pickwick Papers. 



Thus far in our study we have considered four more or 
less common types of plan, — ^The Running Plan, The Infor- 
mal Plan, The Formal Plan, and The Paragraph Plan, each 
with its separate modifications. We have found these dis- 
tinct types, at the same time that we found many of them 
interchangeable one with another, and all capable of combi- 
nation to some extent. We have in each case seen that the 
name selected to designate the plan is based upon some rea- 
sonable and inherent principle upon which the method of 
planning depends. We come now to study other types of 
plans, but they are other types only from the point of view 
of the form of expression used in their topics. Usually the 
name will be taken from the form of the major topics alone. 
This therefore is a different way of naming our plans from 
the one adopted heretofore. We have been naming our 
outlines in accordance with some arrangement of subject 
matter. Now we are going to name them according to 
the various kinds of enumeration we may use. Any one 
of those that follow therefore may belong to any one of 
those we have studied. The Informal Outline, for instance, 
may have its various topics written in various ways; they 
may be words, phrases, clauses, and even sentences. So 
also may the Formal, the Running, and the Paragraph Plan. 
It is our purpose now to classify plans therefore on this 
basis of topic expression. 




Up to this time we have been using the word "topic" 
in a somewhat general sense. We have done this chiefly 
because it is convenient, in referring to the different parts 
of a plan, to say "topic no. i", "topic no. 2", etc. It is 
perfectly allowable so to use the word provided that we at 
the same time know that it has a more specific meaning of 
its own. Though we shall continue to use it in this general 
sense with the meaning of "point", we shall now define its 
more restricted usage. As a matter of fact a topical out- 
line or plan is one that has for its various points single 
words of uniform parts of speech, or single words with 
very short and uniform modifiers. Thus in writing a para- 
graph plan comparing John with Bill we might proceed in 
this way: — 

T. S. — Though John and Bill were brothers they were for the 
most part very diflFerent. 

I. John 

1. Kind 

2. Honest 

3. Genial 

4. Clever 
XL Bill 

1. Cruel 

2. Honest 

3. Brusque 

4. Stupid 

Here the characteristics of each character are stated in the 
briefest possible manner. The major points are nouns ; the 
minor points are consistently adjectives; all are expressed 
by single words. The plan is therefore strictly and simply 
topical. Our plan will however still be topical, though not 


so strictly so, if we add simple modifying words or phrases 
to each of the various topics ; thus : — 

T. S. — Though John and Bill were brothers they were for the 
most part very different. 

I. John a good friend 

1. Very kind 

2. Strictly honest 

3. Always genial 

4. Extremely clever 

II. Bill a bad enemy 

1. Very cruel 

2. Perfectly honest 

3. Usually brusque 

4. Extremely stupid 


So much then for the Topical Plan, If now we have 
occasion to extend these modifying terms into prepositional 
or participial phrases, our plan ceases to be topical in the 
limited sense of the word and becomes a Phrasal Plan. 
One type of such a plan might be as follows : 

T. S. — ^Though John and Bill were brothers they were for 
the most part very different in character. 

I. John, the boy for friendship 

1. Kind to everybody 

2. Honest in every way 

3. Genial at all times 

4. Clever at ever)rthing 

II. Bill, the boy for enmity 

1. Cruel to everybody and to everything 

2. Honest in every way 

3. Brusque all the time 

4. Stupid at everything 


One of the most common types of Phrasal Plan, however, 
is the one whose points end with prepositions. This styte 
of outline is used very largely in computations, in mechani- 
cal description and exposition, and in argument. Such a 
phrasal plan for a short composition on "The Blue-Jay", 
for instance, might be arranged in this way : — 


L Introduction 

I. Habitat of 
II. Discussion 

1. Size of 

2. Colors of 

3. Voice of 

4. Habits of 

III. Conclusion 

I. Place of, among other, birds 

This plan may seem incomplete because of the position of 
the prepositions, but its meaning is clear. We should be 
careful not to permit the use of this style of phrasal plan to 
beget in us the habit of using prepositions as the concluding 
words in our sentences. There is nothing wrong in "using 
a preposition to end a sentence with", but it is not wise to 
do so very often. It is perfectly clear of course what the 
object of the preposition is in each case where it is used 
in the above plan. When the phrasal form of expression 
is followed in the Formal Plan, the title is usually under- 
stood after the preposition, as in the case of "The Blue- Jay". 
When however it is used in the Informal Plan, the object 
of the concluding preposition should properly be the noun 
in the last major topic, or, indeed, the whole major topic. 
It is perhaps better therefore to make use of the Phrasal 
form in the Informal Plan than in the Formal, for the prepo- 
sition will then not be so far removed from its object. Let 


J us fancy, for instance, a carpenter indicating the various 
proportions and sizes of the parts of a house : — 

I. Rooms 

1. Length of 

2. Breadth of 

3. Height of - 

II. Windows 

1. Frames of 

a. Kind of wood of 

b. Shape of 

c. Size of 

2. Glass of 

a. Kind of 

b. Various shapes and sizes of 

Here the reference is simpler because not so far removed. 
If this "rough and ready plan", as it is sometimes called, 
were completed the carpenter could insert the details in 
actual feet and inches as he learned them, immediately after 
the topics to which such details properly belong. 

There are different ways of placing the prepositions in 
this type of outline. In the above illustrations we have 
added the, prepositions to the subordinate topics and when 
the Formal Plan is used this is of course necessary. Often 
it is necessary also in the Informal Phrasal Plan. But 
there are many cases where we may save ourselves the need- 
less repetition of the preposition by adding it simply to 
the major topics and to no others : — 


I. He quoted from 

1. Tennyson 

2. Goldsmith 

3. Shakspere 


II. He described life in 

1. India 

2. Africa 

3. Europe 

4. South America 

III. He narrated stories of 

1. adventure 

2. exploration 

3. hunting expeditions 

4. conquest 

IV. He talked fluently on / 

1. business 

2. politics 

3. religion 

4. art 

Still another variation of phrasal outline is the particip- 
ial or infinitive plan ; that is, participial or infinitive phrases 
are consistently used instead of the prepositional phrases. 
Here again we must be careful to be systematic, — ^we must 
see to it that our topics are all one thing or the other ; we 
must not have some participial and others infinitive in the 
same outline. To illustrate, let us examine the following : — 


I. Visiting the sick 

I. Providing medicine 
• 2. Furnishing comforts 
3. Cheering them 

II. Helping the needy 





III. Pacifying the troubled 




IV. Teaching the children 



V. Asking alms 




I. To visit the sick 

1. To provide medicine 

2. To furnish comforts 

3. To cheer 

II. To pacify the troubled 



Either one of these plans is a good example of the phrasal 
type; one participial, the other infinitive. 


Again, our points may take the form of clauses, in 
^which case we call our plan a Clausal Plan. The same 
'warning is necessary here as has been given so many times 
previously in the book; namely, that we must keep our 


clausal {dan consistently clausal. There is probs^bly no bet- 
ter exercise for any of us than this keeping of our topics 
uniform in expression, or of converting one style of expres- 
sion consistently into another. If practiced patiently it will 
beget in us the habit of concise and correct and systematic 
formulation of our thoughts into language, — to mention but 
one benefit. To illustrate our clausal plan, let us take the 
following : — 


I. When he is sportive 

1. he jumps 

2. he bites in play 

3. he upsets things 

4. he makes many enemies 

II. When he is hungry 

1. he is impatient 

2. he is voracious 

3. he is jealous 

III. When he is working 

1. he is very serious 

2. he is very loyal 

3. he is very keen 

IV. When he is angry 

1. he barks fiercely 

2. he shows his white teeth 

3. his long hair bristles 

V. When he is sleepy and dull 

1. he growls if disturbed 

2. he stretches elaborately 

3. he finds a warm spot and lies down 

4. he snores heavily 

In this little character sketch of Prince we have enumer- 
ated his chief characteristics in clauses. In the subordi-* 


nate topics we have extended the analysis Qi eacK of these 
characteristics, and we have done so by means of sentences. 
The minor topics therefore when read consecutively with 
the major topics give us complete complex sentences. All 
of the topics, however, could have been kept in the clausal 
form had we cared so to express them. Or we could have 
retained the word "he" at the end of each major topic, 
thus : — 

III. When he is on duty, he 

1. is very serious 

2. is very loyal 

3. is very keen 

On the other hand we may reverse the dependent and in- 
dependent clauses if we so desire. Outlining a short com- 
position on "My Reasons for Liking Bookkeeping*", we 
might very properly proceed as follows : — 

I. It is interesting 

1. because of up-to-date problems 

2. because it gives one a sense of responsibility 

II. It is helpful 

1. because it cultivates accuracy 

2. because it trains the reason 

3. because it explains business transactions 

4. because it makes one neat and careful 

III. It is practical 

1. because it is required in all firms however small 

2. because it applies to every day affairs as well as 

to all others 

If now we look back for a few pages we will find that, 
among those outlines where the major topic makes continu- 
ous reading with the minor topic, we do not capitalize the 
minor topic. The reason for this is clear. It would be 


absurd to capitalize the middle word in a sentence, and 
the first word of the minor topic is just that, though it is 
written on the line below. It forms consecutive and un- 
broken reading with what has gone before. 


Still another type of outline, considered from the stand- 
point of the form of expression in the various headings, is 
the Sentence Outline. We must not confuse this with the 
pjaragraph-composition outline. There we planned for each 
paragraph of our composition, and wrote down the topic or 
the summary sentence of each. In the sentence outline 
proper we select the leading points in our collected material 
and express them in sentence form. Under these we write 
the topics or phrases or clauses or shorter sentences which 
subordinately belong to each. This may mean that two or 
three or more paragraphs will have to be written to develop 
each major topic with its minor points. We shall find 
later that the sentence outline is particularly applicable to 
stories, but it may of course be used for other kinds of 
writing as well. It has the advantage of being more ex- 
plicit than the other forms of outline we have studied, in 
that it gives the reader a complete statement of the divi- 
sions and subdivisions of the subject-matter rather than a 
mere suggestion. We may illustrate it as follows : — 


I. It is beautiful to look at 





II. It is comfortable to ride in 






III. It holds the whole family 


3. ! 


IV. It makes distances shorter 




Here every major topic is expressed by means of a com- 
plete sentence. The plan may now easily be completed by 
inserting the subordinate"* topics. under each main heading. 
These, as said before, may take the form of short sentences, 
of clauses, of phrases, or of topics ; only, again, we must 
not forget to make all points of the same grade of subordi- 
nation uniform in expression. Usually, as we shall see 
later, the sentence plan is used almost exclusively in con- 
structing narration. 



We should explain, before we go any further, some- 
thing that has been incidentally mentioned in two or three 
other places in this chapter; the fact, namely, that it is 


usually the^ major topic in our plans that. decides for us 
what kind of outline we have, by what name it shall be 
called. Or, if not this, as when we use the Formal type 
or divide our plan into the Informal type at the outset, then 
the style of the uniform subordinate topics must decide the 
name of the plan used. As a rule however the major topics 
of a phrasal plan must be phrases; of a clausal plan, clauses; 
and so on. The minor topics should in all cases be uniform 
with one another, though they need not necessarily be the 
same in expression as the major topics. In the Formal 
plan it is of course the minor point of the first degree of 
subordination that decides whether our plan is to be topical, 
phrasal, clausal, or sentence ; for we know that the three 
main divisions^introduction, discussion, and conclusion — ^ 
are uniformly topical in their nature, and are in a way out- 
side our consideration of the form of expression. But if 
we want to divide our subject into four or five '"^informal 
major topics, as we did in the plan on page 92, we shall 
there again have to look to the points of the first degree of 
subordination- to ascertain the kinS of plan we are using. 
But after all, as we have seen before, the mere name of a 
plan matters little. The thing that does matter is the ability 
to organize our thought and to register that thought on 
paper systematically and consistently. The regulating of 
our forms of expression in writing and speaking will be 
the means of rescuing our writing and our conversation 
from much, if not from all, of the slovenliness that con- 
stantly mars both forms of our expression. 

Now, if we have been at all observant we have seen by 
this time that the various types of plan here studied are in- 
terchangeable. We can take a sentence outline and convert 
it into a phrasal outline ; we can convert a clausal outline into 
a topical outline ; and so on. All these different forms are 


easily interchangeable. To illustrate but a few of these 
possibilities : — 

OUR AUTOMOBILE (see page 94) (formerly sentence, 

now topical) 
I. Its beauty 

II. Its comfort 

III. Its capacity 

IV. Its speed 


THE SISTERS' DUTIES (see page 90) (formerly phrasal, 

now topical) 
I. The sick 

II. The needy 

III. The troubled 

THE BLUE-JAY (see page 88) (formerly phrasal, now 

I. Introduction 

I. Where it lives 

II. Discussion 

1. How large it is 

2. What its colors are 

3. What kind of voice it has 

4. What its habits are 

III. Conclusion 

I. What its place is among other birds 

We cannot say positively here that any one form of 
these minor plans must be applied to any one type or style 
of composition. Speaking broadly in the last four chapters 
of the book, we shall see that outlines for Narration should 
as a rule be sentence or participial; that outlines for Dq- 


scriptioji should be topical or phrasal ; those for Exposition, 
clausal, phrasal, or topical ; and those for argument, any or 
all combined. It is enough for us to remember now that, 
as our plan should always express clearly the contents of 
the composition, we should select the form of expression 
which we feel best meets the situation. It may be that 
some of us will find one type more suitable to our needs and 
conditions than another at different times. We must dis- 
cover this adjustment for ourselves and apply it accordingly. 
Our intention in this chapter is to learn chiefly that we 
must not mix our forms of expression unduly. A mixture 
of expressional forms leads in most cases, as we know only 
too well, to a muddled and irregular habit of thinking, or 
indicates a habit of untrained, undisciplined thinking. 
There will be many times of course when we shall be justi- 
fied in making a combination plan : a plan, that is, in which 
we shall combine two or more of these forms of expression 
in the enumeration of our points. We might have done this 
in our sketch of Prince. We might there very properly 
have indicated a brief introduction telling about Prince's 
breed, size, color, etc., instead of introducing these points 
incidentally as we did. And we might have added a brief 
conclusion making general comment upon Prince as a model 
dog, as indeed a very doggish dog. If these changes were 
made we might furthermore fit the whole outline into the 
Formal mold ; thus : — 


I. Introduction 

1. His breed 

2. His color 

3. His size 

4. His face 

5. His hair 


II. Discussion 

1. When he is sportive 

a. he jumps 

b. he bites in play 

c. he upsets things 

d. he makes many enemies 

2. When he is hungry 

a. he is impatient 

b. he is voracious 

c. he is jealous 

3. When he is working 

a. he is very serious 

b. he is very loyal 

c. he is very keen 

4. When he is angry 

a. he barks fiercely 

b. he shows his white teeth 

c. his long hair bristles 

5. When he is sleepy and dull 

a. he growls if disturbed 

b. he stretches elaborately 

c. he finds a warm spot and lies down 

d. he snores heavily 

III. Conclusion 

1. Prince compared with other dogs 

2. Why we love Prince 

Or we might omit the word "Discussion" altogether from 
our plan and between the Introduction and the Conclusion 
insert the development of the subject without naming it; 
thus : — 

I. Introduction 

1. His breed 

2. His color 

3. His size 

4. His face ^*>'^-l^ 

5. His hair iX^^^ 

4. v" * 


II. When he is sportive 

1. he jumps 

2. he bites in play 

3. he upsets things 

4. he makes many enemies 

III. When he is hungry 

1. he is impatient 

2. he is voracious 

3. he is jealous 

IV. When he is working 

1. he is very serious 

2. he is very loyal 

3. he is very keen 

V. When he is angry 

1. he barks fiercely 

2. he shows his white teeth 

3. his long hair bristles 


VI. When he is sleepy and dull 

1. he growls if disturbed 

2. he stretches elaborately 

3. he finds a warm spot and lies down 

4. he snores heavily 

VII. Conclusion 

1. Prince compared with other dogs 

2. Why we love Prince 

It will often happen that we shall feel that our subject should 
have an introduction and a conclusion as independent ele- 
ments in our composition. There may be things that will J 
have to be explained before we can hope to interest our 
readers in our sketch or story; and there may likewise be 
things that will have to be unraveled or explained at the 
end. In all these cases we may do as we have done above, 
or we may add a point at the begin;iing and one at the end 
of the composition, each showing by its nature that it is 
introductory or concluding ; for example : — 



I. Prince, — ^breed — size— color — hair — face 

II. When he is sportive 

1. he jumps 

2. he bites in play 

3. he upsets things 

4. he makes many enemies 

III. When he is hungry 

1. he is impatient 

2. he is voracious 

3. he is jealous 

IV. When he is working 

1. he is very serious 

2. he is very loyal 

3. he is very keen 

V. When he is angry 

1. he barks fiercely 

2. he shows his white teeth 

3. his long hair bristles 

VI. When he is sleepy and dull 

1. he growls if disturbed 

2. he stretches elaborately 

3. he finds a warm spot and lies down 

4. he snores heavily 

VII. Our reasons for loving Prince more than other dogs 

Such arrangements as these then would be made up of 
two different types and would therefore be combination 
plans. We must bear in mind in this connection that the 
Formal, the Informal, and the Running types of plan are 
generic types, and that those studied in this chapter are 
specific' But in combining one type with another we may 
intermingle all, both generic and specific. We must re- 
member too that these generic types receive their names 


according to the arrangement of material ; that the specific 
types are named according to the form of expression used 
in writing down our points. 

Therefore, just as we learned that we can unite the Run- 
ning with the Formal and Informal plans, so long as we do 
it systematically; so also we see here that topical, phrasal, 
clausal, and sentence plans may be combined. But it is 
safe to say that never should more than two of these be 
combined in dealing with one subject, and the combination 
should of course be made with much care. Such an ar- 
rangement as this we know would be extremely bad : — 



I. Size of 

2. Color 

3. What breed 




On duty 


When angry 

This would be extremely slip-shod and slovenly, and we 
have surely been sufficiently warned against this kind of 
thing never to make such a blunder. 


We come now to the Deductive Outline, sometimes called 
the Study Plan or the Analytic Plan. We have studied this 
to a small degree in the chapter dealing with the Paragraph 
Plan and in the exercises at the end of other chapters. But 
for the most part we have so far dealt only with plans 
made in preparation of written work that was to follow. 
We have led from a mass of unorganized material . into a 
regular and consistent arrangement and presentation of that 


"material. But sometimes we have found it helpful to make 
notes on a difficult passage in History, perhaps, or in Eng- 
lish, Economics, Science, or in any subject with which we 
may at the time have been engaged. We have ''jotted 
down the main points", as we have said, so that, when we 
were called upon for recitation, we have had the informa- 
tion gleaned from the text-book in a thoroughly organized 
form. This is a most valuable exercise and, as a rule, if 
done seriously, will gain for us a much better knowledge 
of the subject studied than we could otherwise get. To lead 
from the composition back to the original plan, or to a plan 
equivalent to the original, may seem very much like placing 
the cart before the horse, and it is indeed a very bad thing 
for us to do in ^connection with our own compositions. We 
have known pupils of course who disliked making plans and 
who, in consequence, wrote their compositions first and then 
made the plans. But they disliked making plans and resorted 
to this method only because they did not understand how to 
go about making a plan. Probably they had never had 
opportunities of studying the subject. But to make a de- 
ductive or study or analytic plan of text which we are con- 
cerned in mastering,- is a most valuable exercise. Of course 
the plan should be systematically made ; the contents of the 
passage should be sensibly "jotted down". The major 
points of the subject should be major points in the plan 
and the minor points should of course be subordinated. 
Long and difficult points should perhaps be written in sen- . 
tence form; shorter and easier points, in topic, phrasal, or 
clausal form. The kind of expression used in the plan 
should vary with the importance of the information regis- 
tered. If the subject-matter be uniform in its value and 
difficulty, we can confine ourselves to one particular type 
of outline, a vastly more convenient thing to do. The best 


results from our study are oftentimes gained by makiiig 
our deductive or study plan a paragraph plan. This is par- 
ticularly the case when the text itself is divided into dis- 
tinctly marked sections or paragraphs. Moreover, the para- 
graph plan, as we have seen, is likely to be much more 
detailed and cc»nplete than any other type. 

We make use of this analytic outline not only when we 
study from a book, but when we watch an expei:iment, and 
make notes ; when we listen to a lecture and write out the 
salient features of it; and when we listen to a talk in one 
of our societies to which we wish to reply. This last in- 
stance is particularly common in the refutation of debates, 
where the speaker has to observe and note carefully what 
his opponent is saying. Unless he is on the alert to or- 
ganize his reply, he will probably not make a successful 
rebuttal. We can see therefore* how important it is for us 
to cultivate this habit of outlining and analyzing what others 
have said in order that what we may have to say about, or 
in reply to, it may be consistently presented. Many of our 
greatest men in every field of activity have kept notebooks 
in which they have deduced plans from their reading, or 
from things which they have heard or seen. And it was 
oftentimes these very notes that in later life helped them to 
accomplish a work that made their names immortal. Haw- 
thorne, Dickens, Stevenson, Thackeray, Bacon, Emerson, 
and scores of others were all "notebook men". 

On the other hand, we have known the zest and appre- 
ciation of a good story to be entirely dulled by the fact that 
a student read it with the ever-conscious knowledge that 
his teacher was going to require an outline of it afterward. 
It is of course foolish to form the habit of outlining every- 
thing, most of all such reading as we do for pleasure. This 
would be like inquiring minutely about the fingering of a 


piece. of music after we had been thrilled with its ecstatic 
strains. But when we are confronted with a particularly 
difficult text which is going to be necessary to us in later 
work or which we desire to master for personal ends we 
may have in view, then the making of a study plan cannot 
be, too highly recommended. Let us take for example the 
following passage from Epochs of English History, edited 
by Rt. Rev. M. Creighton, and deduce an outline from it. 


1. In November, 1853, the Emperor of Russia declared war 
against Turkey. To the surprise of Europe, the Turks at first 
held their own against the invader. The Russians were repulsed 
from every point of attack along the Danube, and the Emperor 
became more exasperated at the failure of his arms. The em- 
peror of the French attempted in vain to mediate. At last a mes- 
sage was sent by England that unless the Russian troops were 
withdrawn across the Pruth before the end of April, 1854, it 
would be considered that war had been declared. To this the Czar 
made no reply, and the war began its course. 

2. The plan of operations was very simple. Russia could 
only be attacked in her extremities, and England could only act 
on a sea base. A fleet was sent into the Baltic with high ex- 
pectations of success, which were not realized, and a large force 
of English and French troops was despatched into the Black 
Sea with the object of taking Sebastopol, a powerful fortress 
which the Russians had recently constructed at great expense. In 
September the allies landed at Eupatoria, in the Crimea, and six 
days later completely defeated the Russians at the Battle of Alma. 
It might have been possible to attack Sebastopol with success 
from the northern side, but it was thought more prudent to be- 
siege it from the south, and the batteries opened fire in October. 
The Battle of Balaklava fought on October 25 was signalized by a 
charge of six hundred light cavalry, in which nearly half were 
killed or wounded. In November was fought the Battle of Inker- 
man, in which an attempt to surprise the British army was de- 


feated by the steadiness of the guards. The winter tried the 
army severely, and the want of supplies and hospitals, roused in- 
dignation at home. — Excerpt from Chapter XXL 


I. Declaration of war by Russia against Turkey (Nov. 


1. Resistance of Turkey 

2. Repulsion of Russians 

3. Attempt at mediation by French 

4. Message from England ' 

5. The Czar's silence 

II. The War in the Crimea ( 1854) 

1. Russia versus England 

a. Methods of each 

2. Maneuvers 

a. In the Baltic '^ 

b. In the Black Sea 

3. Arrival of English and French in Crimea 

a. Battle of Alma 

b. Battle of Balaklava 

c. Battle of Inkerman 

4. The severe winter 


A more general method of planning than any that has 
yet come to our notice is that in which we subordinate hori- 
zontally rather than perpendicularly as we have been doing. 
This is sometimes called the Bracket Plan and it applies 
only to the way in which we write down the material on 
the paper. Any plan that we have heretofore drawn up 
may be arranged in the bracket form. It is a mold into 
which we can fit any kind of knowledge that we may have 
about anything. It is valuable chiefly because it presents a 



very concise, a very condensed, and, if made with care, a 
very easily understood picture of the contents of our com- 
position. We shall find if we consult various textbooks 
that such* an arrangement of material is often made in sum- 
marizing work at the ends of chapters, or, particularly in 
a subject like History, in presenting family genealogies and 
royal successions. The matter of subordination is indi- 
cated, as we can see below, by means of smaller and smaller 

The Introduction to Our Literary Club as outlined on 
page 39 may be "bracketed" as follows : — 

A. Organization* 

I. General 

2. Particular 

a. Name - j(i) 

b. Meetings ^y^l 

c. Purposes iSU 

a. Membership ^ >^c 


b. Officers 



Social aims 
Intellectual aims 











In such plans tabulation is usually omitted, the picture being 
clear enough to leave no doubt as to the relations of topics. 
We have, however, included it here in order that rapid 
comparison can be made between this and the original 
from which it is transposed. (See also outline of kinds 
of letters. Chap. VIII, and outline of a:ids to variety. 
Chap. IX.) 



It is sometimes desirable to present to the eye the rela- 
tions that certain different kinds of contemporary events 
bear to one another. The events of an author's life, for 
instance, the publication of his works, the events in the lives 
of other authors who lived at about the same time, and the 
contemporary historical events, are sometimes all written in 
parallel columns, so that one can see them comparatively, at 
a glance. This is a most valuable kind of plan for con- 
densation and comparison; for learning, perhaps, what in- 
fluence certain historical periods had on certain lives or 
works, and for studying the relations between men and 
events. We have frequently seen such parallel plans drawn 
up for our benefit in text-books and they have been of great 
help to us, for we are often inclined to believe that, because 
an account of a happening occurs in a book after the account 
of a man's life, the man lived long before the happening. 
In other words, we are likely from time to time to deduce 
a false chronology because an author cannot write about two 
events at the same time though they may have occurred 
simultaneously. The parallel plan will prevent our gather- 
ing these false impressions. Such plans may be used also 
to excellent advantage for purposes of summarizing periods 
of history or the happenings in novels and poems. The 
following excerpt illustrates the type of parallel planning 
that is often met with in introductions to texts in various 
subjects. It will be understood, of course, that the number 
of columns in such a plan or diagram must vary according 
to the number and importance of the main heading to be 
considered. There may be only two, or a dozen or more. 
And care must be taken to keep events of even date or value 
on the same line : — 








161 1 






(James I. on the 

Persecution of the 


"Mayflower" sails for 

James I. died. First 
Parliament. Plague 
in London. 

Second Parliament. 

Third Parliament. Pe- 
tition of Right. 

Oliver Cromwell in Par- 
liament. Protest and 

Charles II. bom. 

Laud and Wentworth. 
The period of Thor- 

Charles crowned in Ed- 
inburgh. Laud, Arch- 
bishop of Canter- 

Prynne, Burton, and 
Bastwick pilloried. 

League and Covenant 
Episcopacy abolished 
in Scotland^ 

Publication of Shake- 
speare's Sonnets. 

Authorized version of 
the Bible. 

Shakespeare died, 
April 23d. Publica- 
tion of Jonson's Un- 

Bacon's Novum Or- 
ganum published. 

First folio of Shake- 
speare's plays. 

Fletcher (dramatist) 

Enlarged edition of 
Bacon's Essays, 

Bacon died. 

John Bunyan bom. 

December 9th, John 
Milton bom. 

John Dryden bom. 

John Locke bom. 

George Herbert died. 

Ben Jonson died. 

Education carried on 
at home by Puritan 

Sent to St. Paul's 

Psalms CXIV and 

To Christ's College, 


On a Fair Infant, 
Vacation Exercise. 

B. A. degree. Nativity, 

On the Circumcision; 
On the Passion; On 

Epitaphs on Hohson 
and Marchioness of 

M. A. degree, Cam- 
bridge. Retired to 
Horton for five years. 
While there wrote 
Tim^y Solemn MusiCy 
May Morning, Son- 
net II, VAUegrOy II 
PenserosOf Arcades, 
Comus, and Lycidas, 

Travels on Continent. 
Italian Sonnets, 

From Frederick Day Nichols' Milton's Shorter Poems and 



We may also make a parallel plan of a different but 
equally helpful sort, such as, in the illustration from James 
Russell Lowell's The Vision of Sir Launfal, following ; — 

Contrasts in Thb Vision of Sib Launfal 

Prelude I 

Prelude II 



• Flowers 












We may fill in the spaces in the following diagram with 
the material for which the various columns call and we 
will have, when done, not only the chief events of the 
author's life, but also all of the great world-happenings 
that were contemporary with him : — 

Sir Wat.ter Scott and His Period 







and Leaders 





: Such parallel plans are of great value to us in most lines 
T of our study. Sometimes they are called "Tables", but here 
J again the mere name makes no difference. We will illus- 
"i trate but a few subjects only in which the plan may prove 
useful. First, in language study we may be able to "clinch* ' 
difficult verbs by summarizing them thus : — 

Irbegular Verbs in — 












or in History; 

The War 




Brief Account 


according to the arrangement of material ; that the specific 
types are named according to the form of expression used 
in writing down our points. 

Therefore, just as we learned that we can unite the Run- 
ning with the Formal and Informal plans, so long as we do 
it systematically; so also we see here that topical, phrasal, 
clausal, and sentence plans may be combined. But it is 
safe to say that never should more than two of these be 
combined in dealing with one subject, and the combination 
should of course be made with much care. Such an ar- 
rangement as this we know would be extremely bad : — 



I. Size of 

2. Color 

3. What breed 




On duty 


When angry 

This would be extremely slip-shod and slovenly, and we 
have surely been sufficiently warned against this kind of 
thing never to make such a blunder. 


We come now to the Deductive Outline, sometimes called 
the Study Plan or the Analytic Plan. We have studied this 
to a small degree in the chapter dealing with the Paragraph 
Plan and in the exercises at the end of other chapters. But 
for the most part we have so far dealt only with plans 
made in preparation of written work that was to follow. 
We have led from a mass of unorganized material into a 
regular and consistent arrangement and presentation of that 


"material. But sometimes we have found it helpful to make 
notes on a difficult passage in History, perhaps, or in Eng- 
lish, Economics, Science, or in any subject with which we 
may at the time have been engaged. We have *'jotted 
down the main points", as we have said, so that, when we 
were called upon for recitation, we have had the informa- 
tion gleaned from the text-book in a thoroughly organized 
form. This is a most valuable exercise and, as a rule, if 
done seriously, will gain for us a much better knowledge 
of the subject studied than we could otherwise get. To lead 
from the composition back to the original plan, or to a plan 
equivalent to the original, may seem very much like placing 
the cart before the horse, and it is indeed a very bad thing 
for us to do in ^connection with our own compositions. We 
have known pupils of course who disliked making plans and 
who, in consequence, wrote their compositions first and then 
made the plans. But they disliked making plans and resorted 
to this method only because they did not understand how to 
go about making a plan. Probably they had never had 
opportunities of studying the subject. But to make a de- 
ductive or study or analytic plan of text which we are con- 
cerned in mastering,' is a most valuable exercise. Of course 
the plan should be systematically made ; the contents of the 
passage should be sensibly "jotted down". The major 
points of the subject should be major points in the plan 
and the minor points should of course be subordinated. 
Long and difficult points should perhaps be written in sen- 
tence form; shorter and easier points, in topic, phrasal, or 
clausal form. The kind of expression used in the plan 
should vary with the importance of the information regis- 
tered. If the subject-matter be uniform in its value and 
difficulty, we can confine ourselves to one particular type 
of outline, a vastly more convenient thing to do. The best 


results from our study are oftentimes gained by making 
our deductive or study plan a paragraph plan. This is par- 
ticularly the case when the text itself is divided into dis- 
tinctly marked sections or paragraphs. Moreover, the para- 
graph plan, as we have seen, is likely tp be much more 
detailed and complete than any other type. 

We make use of this analytic outline not only when we 
study from a book, but when we watch an expei;iment, and 
make notes ; when we listen to a lecture and write out the 
salient features of it; and when we listen to a talk in one 
of our societies to which we wish to reply. This last in- 
stance is particularly common in the refutation of debates, 
where the speaker has to observe and note carefully what 
his opponent is saying. Unless he is on the alert to or- 
ganize his reply, he will probably not make a successful 
rebuttal. We can see therefore* how important it is for us 
to cultivate this habit of outlining and analyzing what others 
have said in order that what we may have to say about, or 
in reply to, it may be consistently presented. Many of our 
greatest men in every field of activity have kept notebooks 
in which they have deduced plans from their reading, or 
from things which they have heard or seen. And it was 
oftentimes these very notes that in later life helped them to 
accomplish a work that made their names immortal. Haw- 
thorne, Dickens, Stevenson, Thackeray, Bacon, Emerson, 
and scores of others were all "notebook men". 

On the other hand, we have known the zest and appre- 
ciation of a good story to be entirely dulled by the fact that 
a student read it with the ever-conscious knowledge that 
his teacher was going to require an outline of it afterward. 
It is of course foolish to form the habit of outlining every- 
thing, most of all such reading as we do for pleasure. This 
would be like inquiring minutely about the fingering of a 


piece. of music after we had been thrilled with its ecstatic 
strains. But when we are confronted with a particularly 
difRcult text which is going to be necessary to us in later 
work or which we desire to master for personal ends we 
may have in view, then the making of a study plan cannot 
be, too highly recommended. Let us take for example the 
following passage from Epochs of English History, edited 
by Rt. Rev. M. Creighton, and deduce an outline from it. 


1. In November, 1853, the Emperor of Russia declared war 
against Turkey. To the surprise of Europe, the Turks at first 
held their own against the invader. The Russians were repulsed 
from every point of attack along the Danube, and the Emperor 
became more exasperated at the failure of his arms. The em- 
peror of the French attempted in vain to mediate. At last a mes- 
sage was sent by England that unless the Russian troops were 
withdrawn across the Pruth before the end of April, 1854, it 
would be considered that war had been declared. To this the Czar 
made no reply, and the war began its course. 

2. The plan of operations was very simple. Russia could 
only be attacked in her extremities, and England could only act 
on a sea base. A fleet was sent into the Baltic with high ex- 
pectations of success, which were not realized, and a large force 
of English and French troops was despatched into the Black 
Sea with the object of taking Sebastopol, a powerful fortress 
which the Russians had recently constructed at great expense. In 
September the allies landed at Eupatoria, in the Crimea, and six 
days later completely defeated the Russians at the Battle of Alma. 
It might have been possible to attack Sebastopol with success 
from the northern side, but it was thought more prudent to be- 
siege it from the south, and the batteries opened fire in October. 
The Battle of Balaklava fought on October 25 was signalized by a 
charge of six hundred light cavalry, in which nearly half were 
killed or wounded. In November was fought the Battle of Inker- 
man, in which an attempt to surprise the British army was de- 


feated by the steadiness of the guards. The winter tried the 
army severely, and the want of supplies and hospitals, roused in- 
dignation at home. — Excerpt from Chapter XXL 


I. Declaration of war by Russia against Turkey (Nov. 


1. Resistance of Turkey 

2. Repulsion of Russians 

3. Attempt at mediation by French 

4. Message from England ' 

5. The Czar's silence 

II. The War in the Crimea (1854) 

1. Russia versus England 

a. Methods of each 

2. Maneuvers 

a. In the Baltic "" 

b. In the Black Sea 

3. Arrival of English and French in Crimea 

a. Battle of Alma 

b. Battle of Balaklava 

c. Battle of Inkerman 

4. The severe winter 


A more general method of planning than any that has 
yet come to our notice is that in which we subordinate hori- 
zontally rather than perpendicularly as we have been doing. 
This is sometimes called the Bracket Plan and it applies 
only to the way in which we write down the material on 
the paper. Any plan that we have heretofore drawn up 
may be arranged in the bracket form. It is a mold into 
which we can fit any kind of knowledge that we may have 
about anything. It is valuable chiefly because it presents a 



very concise, a very condensed, and, if made with care, a 
very easily understood picture of the contents of our com- 
position. We shall find if we consult various textbooks 
that such^an arrangement of material is often made in sum- 
marizing work at the ends of chapters, or, particularly in 
a subject like History, in presenting family genealogies and 
royal successions. The matter of subordination is indi- 
cated, as we can see below, by means of smaller and smaller 

The Introduction to Our Literary Club as outlined on 
page 39 may be "bracketed" as follows : — 

A. Organization 

I. General 

2. Particular 

a. Name - 

b. Meetings 

c. Purposes 

a. Membership 

b. Officers 

|(i) Emerson 

1) Place 

2) Time 

i) Social aims 

2) Intellectual aims 

i) Age 

2) Number 

3) Initiation 

4) Expense 

i) Director 

2) President 

3) Vice-president 

(4) Secretary 

(5) Treasurer 
.(6) Critic 

In such plans tabulation is usually omitted, the picture being 
clear enough to leave no doubt as to the relations of topics. 
We have, however, included it here in order that rapid 
comparison can be made between this and the original 
from which it is transposed. (See also outline of kinds 
of letters. Chap. VIII, and outline of aids to variety. 
Chap. IX.) 



It is sometimes desirable to present to the eye the rela- 
tions that certain different kinds of contemporary events 
bear to one another. The events of an author's life, for 
instance, the publication of his works, the events in the lives 
of other authors who lived at about the same time, and the 
contemporary historical events, are sometimes all written in 
parallel columns, so that one can see them comparatively, at 
a glance. This is a most valuable kind of plan for con- 
densation and comparison; for learning, perhaps, what in- 
fluence certain historical periods had on certain lives or 
works, and for studying the relations between men and 
events. We have frequently seen such parallel plans drawn 
up for our benefit in text-books and they have been of great 
help to us, for we are often inclined to believe that, because 
an account of a happening occurs in a book after the account 
of a man's life, the man lived long before the happening. 
In other words, we are likely from time to time to deduce 
a false chronology because an author cannot write about two 
events at the same time though they may have occurred 
simultaneously. The parallel plan will prevent our gather- 
ing these false impressions. Such plans may be used also 
to excellent advantage for purposes of summarizing periods 
of history or the happenings in novels and poems. The 
following excerpt illustrates the type of parallel planning 
that is often met with in introductions to texts in various 
subjects. It will be understood, of course, that the number 
of columns in such a plan or diagram must vary according 
to the number and importance of the main heading to be 
considered. There may be only two, or a dozen or more. 
And care must be taken to keep events of even date or value 
on the same line : — 








161 1 






(James I. on the 

Persecution of the 


''Mayflower" sails for 

James I. died. First 
Parliament. Plague 
in London. 

Second Parliament. 

Hiird Parliament. Pe- 
tition of Right. 

Oliver Cromwell in Par- 
liament. Protest and 

Charles 11. bom. 

Publication of Shake- 
speare's Sonnets, 

Authorized version of 
the Bible. 

Shakespeare died, 
April 23d. PubUca- 
tion of Jonson's Un- 

Bacon's Novum Or- 
ganum published. 

First folio of Shake- 
speare's plays. 

Fletcher (dramatist) 

Enlarged edition of 
Bacon's Essays, 

Bacon died. 

John Bunyan bom. 

December gttk, John 
Milton bom. 

Laud and Wentworth. 
The period of Thor- 

Charles crowned in Ed- 
inburgh. Laud, Arch- 
bishop of Canter- 

Prynne, Burton, and 
Bastwick pilloried. 

League and Covenant. 
Episcopacy aboUshed 

I in Scotland^ 

John Dryden bom. 

John Locke bom. 

George Herbert died. 

Ben Jonson died. 

Education carried on 
at home by Puritan 

Sent to St. Paul's 

Psalms CXIV and 

To Christ's College, 


On a Fair Infant. 
Vacation Exercise* 

B. A. degree. Nativity. 

On the Circumcision; 
On the Passion; On 

Epitaphs on Hohson 
and Marchioness of 

M. A. degree, Cam- 
bridge. Retired to 
Horton for five years. 
While there wrote 
Time, Solemn Music, 
May Morning, Son- 
net 11, VAUegro, II 
Penseroso, Arcades, 
Comus, and Lycidas, 

Travels on Continent. 
Italian Sonnets, 

From Frederick Day Nichols' Milton's Shorter Poems and 



We may also make a parallel plan of a different bt 
equally helpful sort, such as, in the illustration from Jame 
Russell Lowell's The Vision of Sir'Launfal, following :- 

Contrasts in The Vision or Sib Launfal 

Prelude I 

Prelude II 



* Flowers 












We may fill in the spaces in the following diagram with 
the material for which the various columns call and we 
will have, when done, not only the chief events of the 
author's life, but also all of the great world-happenings 
that were contemporary with him : — 

Sir Walter Scott and His Period 







and Leaders 





Such parallel plans are of great value to us in most lines 

J- of our study. Sometimes they are called "Tables", but here 

again the mere name makes no difference. We will illus- 
trate but a few subjects only in which the plan may prove 
useful. First, in language study we may be able to "clinch*' 
difficult verbs by summarizing them thus : — 

Irregular Verbs in — 












or in History; 

The War 




Brief Account 



or in Science, 




Relation to Other 

or in English, 



Where Foimd 


Peculiar Use 



Where Found 


Line . 


Explanation of Meter 


and so forth. With the exercise of a little ingenuity on 
our part we shall be able to construct original and valuable 
parallel plans for almost any phase of any of our work, and 
thus aid our memory and facilitate our study. The above 
illustrations are but a very few indications of what can be 
done along this line. Every one of these, as well as many 
others of our own invention, should be elaborated and filled 
in with proper material 


The Headline Plan is a brief summary or analysis of a 
news item placed at the top of a column of news for the 
benefit of the reader of the paper. It aims to give in a 
few words the chief content of the article which follows it. 
Oftentimes a busy person who has time to read only these 
headlines in his morning paper, can get a very good idea 
of the happenings in the world, provided of course the 
headlines are carefully and thoughtfully stated. By being 
well stated, we mean that it has-been the object of the writer 
to give a truthful, well-selected, and well-phrased conden- 
sation of the news contained. This the writers of our 
best newspapers can always be depended upon to do. But 
in some of those papers which we sometimes designate as 
"yellow", the aim of the "headliner" seems to be to flaunt 
the striking or even the terrible before the eyes of the pur- 
chaser and reader of the paper, rather than the truthful. 
This is one of the distinct marks of difference between the 
"yellow" journal and the dignified news sheet, often called 
the "gentleman's journal". Another very characteristic 
mark, however, is the size and prominence given to such 
headlines. The cheaper paper will oftentimes sprawl the 


large words of the plan entirely across one sheet ; the more 
dignified paper will confine the headline plan to the limits 
of the column in which the news item is to appear. We 
will examine a few of these headline plans, confining our- 
selves to those of the better class. But, before doing so, 
let us recall what the purpose should be, — it should always 
be to impart truthful, general information about the matter 
reported, to give the salient features of that matter in con- 
cise, easily understood terms ; it should never be simply to 
attract attention or to arouse feeling. The cultivation of 
the habit of writing true and genuinely informing headlines 
is very important for us. They are the same kind of thing 
that we write whenever we condense the words of another 
to a short, rememberable form ; when we deduce brief out- 
lines ; when we take notes. The few words of explanation 
that we oftentimes affix to papers that we hand to our teach- 
ers in various subjects are nothing more or less than head- 
line plans. Such a plan is of course always a deductive 
plan, but deduced sometimes from the event itself rather 
than from the written account of the event. A newspaper 
writer witnesses an accident, we will say. He notes the 
chief features of the affair. With a little revision perhaps 
when he gets to his office, he allows these to stand for head- 
lines and then "writes up'' the accident. This is a natural 
and safe way to proceed. The "yellow" method is different. 
It aims to place a minimum of work on the "write-up", and 
a maximum of frenzy (and ink!) on the headline plan. 
Usually however the headline plan is deduced in the natural 
way, the article being written first and then the writer re- 
viewing it to see how best he can condense it to a few 
words in order to convey its full meaning to the newspaper 



Crosstown Car Runs Into Broadway 

Car at 59th Street. 



Big Trolley "Bump'' at 59th Street and Broadway 


Here we have represented the two different styles. Of 
course it is the former that we want to take for our guide. 
It tells with dignity and truth what the actual happening 
was, and its result. Other good examples are : 




I t\m^ I 







(From The London Times) 



Mr. Frohman's Reminiscences — Much 
tion and Many Religious Works 
About to Appear 

(From The New York Times) 



I <i^i> I 


(From The London Times) 





(From The London Post) 



California's New Executive Wants None 
of It, So Far as He's Concerned. 


(From The New York Globe) 


I. Make a study jdan of this chapter. 
II. Make an outline showing the different kinds of 
plans you studied before reaching the present chapter ; plans, 
that is, dealing with the arrangement of subject-matter. 

III. Make an outline showing the different kinds of 
plans you have studied in this chapter : plans, that is, deal- 
ing with the form of expression of subject-matter. (Do not 
confuse with no. I above.) 

IV. Combine nos. II and III into some one con- 
sistent plan. 

V. Make topical plans for each of the following 
titles : — 

Skating at the Rink The Maples 

A Good Old Horse Various News-stands That I Pass 

Street Noises The Parade 

The Train on Which I Rode On the Merry-Go-Round 

The Crow Our National Coins 

VI. Illustrate how each of the above may be made a 
phrasal, a clausal, or a sentence plan. 

VII. Draw up a combination plan for the following 
title: "My Home Study Period". Tell why you think 
the subject should be outlined in the combination form. 

VIII. Make a study plan of the account of some battle 
you have studied in History ; of the settlement of some col- 
ony ; of the life of some author or some other public man. 
IX. Enlarge and complete those illustrative plans 
used in this chapter that are left incomplete. 

X. Convert any two plans previously made into 
highly subordinated bracket plans. 


XL Make a parallel plan of the past year or two of 
your life with contemporary events and with the lives of two 
or three other people. Complete the illustrative parallel 
plans in this chapter. 

XII. Draw up a series of newspaper headings for 
school happenings of the past month. 



/ We have said something (Chapter IV) about the scope 
of our composition. We are now going to study about this 
a little more in order to understand how we may limit our 
titles somewhat and focus them more intensely upon 
one particular point. It is very important that we consider • 
every title we may be given, no matter how narrow and con- 
fined it may be, from some one definite point of view. 
If we are not careful to do this, we shall find ourselves con- 
stantly attempting to write on subjects that are too big for 
a successful handling in an ordinary composition. More- 
over, we shall find that we are tempted to wander and to 
become confused in our development of a subject unless 
we are first more careful to limit it to a certain phase of its 
character. By way of illustration of this fact let us exam- 
ine somewhat closely "Horses", as a title tor a composition. 
Now, whole volumes have been written about this interest- 
ing animal, and for us to attempt to exhaust the subject 
within the limits of a single school composition would be 
little short of absurd. We could give nothing but the most 
general sketch of horses if we attempted to write about 
them without limiting ourselves in any way. Futhermore, 
we would not be qualified to write with equal facility about 
all kinds of horses. Probably none of us could write intel- 



ligently of more than one or two classes of them. It would 
be vastly better then for us, in dealing with such a subject, 
to limit it to one particular point of view. Let us name 
some of the many points of view from which the horse 
may be considered : — 

We may consider this animal from 

1. the farmer's point of view, 

2. the merchant's point of view, 

3. the driver's point of view, 

4. the huntsman's point of view, 

5. the gambler's point of view, 

6. the equestrian's point of view, 

7. lftte artist's point of view, 

8. the blacksmith's point of view, 

9. the physiologist's point of view, 
10. the horse-breeder's point of view. 

^ Here we have named ten different points of view off- 
hand, and we have not yet named them all. "The Horse" 
discussed from the point of view of any one of these 
would be a subject of ample breadth for a composition of 
at least four or five pages of the ordinary school composi- 
tion paper. 

But it may be complained that we have selected the very 
easiest possible kind of subject for our illustration. This 
is perfectly true. A class name, a generic word, such as 
"Horses'* or "The Horse", lends itself to a much wider 
division than does a more specific title, and therefore is a 
more dangerous kind of subject for us to handle. How- 
ever, no subject is so narrow that we cannot limit it to 
some extent by revolving it in our minds and endeavoring 
to discover points of view from which it may be considered. 
Is our subject "What I Ate Yesterday"? Well, we can 
discuss it from the point of view of a hungry boy; from 


that of a dyspeptic ; from that of a vegetarian ; from that of 
a healthy, vigorous exerciser. We may discuss our club 
from the point of view of a visitor, or from that of an or- 
dinary member, from an officer's point of view, or from 
that of a critic or suggester. We may discuss our dog 
Prince from the point of view of companion, hunter, or 
trainer. In other words, we can always limit 'our subjects 
to some particular sphere and thereby avoid the darker of 
writing at random. 

Of course there may be times when it is required of us 
to make our treatment of a subject extensive rather than 
intensive. The method of our telling a story or giving an 
account of anything depends chiefly upon two things, — the 
kind of thing we have to tell and the kind of audience we 
have to tell it to. Our first purpose must always be to 
make what we have to say interesting. How best to do this 
will depend upon these two conditions. If we are going to 
give an account of our club to a very young and very rest- 
less audience of children, we had better begin with an 
account of our most interesting meeting and introduce such 
details as Iqcation, membership, purposes, etc. (if introduced 
at all), as briefly as possible at the end. If on the other 
hand we are telling an audience of adults about our club, 
the arrangement we have already employed is good. If 
again we are speaking to an s^udience composed of intelli- 
gent foreigners who know nothing about club work as it is 
conducted in our city, then of course we must begin with 
a lucid definition of our subject. If we are telling a group 
of sportsmen about a hunt in which we participated, we may 
proceed at once to the exciterhent of the chase and the 
bringing of the prey to bay, but we could not do this with 
an audience unacquainted with the phraseology of the hunt. 
Such expressions as "taking a hedge", "holding the pack". 


"staking a horse'', would have little meaning and, before 
being used, would have to be explained. In talking to a lay 
audience about an airship an aeronaut would in all proba- 
bility deal only with the most general terms in connection 
with the machine; he would cover the whole subject in a 
most general way; he would in other words give the au- 
dience a telescopic view of the airship. But if he were talk- 
ing to an audience of air navigators on the subject, he 
would find it as impossible as it would be unnecessary to * 
cover the whole subject in the period of time usually al- 
lotted to speakers. He would rather take a single part of 
the airship and discuss it minutely. He would probably 
spend much more than an hour with such an audience dis- 
cussing only the motor of the machine ; he could indulge to 
his heart's content in technical terms which would be Greek 
to us; he would, in short, be intensive and microscopic. 
When we wrote about the club we kept constantly in view 
the kind of audience we had to deal with, — we were ex- 
plaining the club to people who knew nothing about it. 
This constant consideration of the sort of audience we are 
dealing with is one of the very important factors in Point 
of View. To discuss the plumage of a bird in conversation 
with a sportsman might be very interesting to him, but he 
would be at a loss to understand our enthusiasm and our 
technical terms, if we were so unwise as to use them. But 
let a milliner listen to us for a moment and there will be an 
immediate interest in what we have to say and an intense 
enthusiasm in response to our own. 

Let us examine this a little more closely even at the risk 
of becoming tedious. Suppose it is our purpose to outline 
the life of a great man. We must at once consider whether 
this man was noted for his great deeds, for his breadth of 
travel, for the number and greatness of the books he pub- 


lished, for his superb character, or for any one of the many 
other things that go to make the study of a man's life 
worth while. Having decided then what our subject was 
best known for in his life, we have likewise decided what 
the major topics in our outline must be, and what the lead- 
ing theme of our composition. When we think of Na- 
poleon, we immediately recall his great military career; 
when we think of Longfellow, our minds are filled with his 
literary achievements; when we think of Livingstone, we 
get a picture, correct or confused, of the African jungle, 
and exploration looms large in our minds; and so on. 
These considerations give us at once in each case the' major 
motive in the man's career, and tell us likewise what must 
be the keynote of our plan of composition. Of course the 
other details of the life will not be omitted, but they will 
quite properly be given a minor place, The plan, in the 
case of a military genius, for instance, might be arranged 
in a general way as follows : — 

I. First Great Military Promise 

1. At training school 

2. Age 

3. Record 

4. Physical equipment 

II. First Military Assignment 
I. Success 

III. Battle of 

1. His skill 

2. His leadership 

3. His success 

IV. Battles of and 

1. Superhuman exertions 

2. Outcome 


V. Last Battles 

1. Victory always 

2. His men 

3. His age and condition 

VI. Death 

I. Public obsequies 

Again, we may make a general plan of any man's life ac- 
cording to time, place, or events. If our subject be one 
who made places famous in his career, then we will give 
places the prominent position ; if the events of his life were 
especially noteworthy, then these must stand out; and so 
with dates or time. And by subordinating the minor mat- 
ter we will at the same time have all the details of his life. 
We may illustrate again in a general way as follows : — 

EoerUs. Places. Time. 

I. Birth I. Cambridge, Mass. I. 1809 

1. 1809 I. 18^ I. Birth 

2. C^nbridge, 2. Birth 2. Cambridge, 
I Mass. ^ Mass. 

II. Education II. Harvard Univer- II. 1825 

etc. sity i. Education 

I. 1825 2. Harvard 

i 2. Education University 

etc etc. 

Now we do not mean to say that all subjects must al- 
ways be limited to and discussed from any one single point 
of view. It may often be the case that we shall have to use 
two or three points of view in one composition. The 
breeder of horses may be a gambler in horse-racing, or he 
may be an expert equestrian. In either case we should have 
to combine two points of view at least in writing on the sub- 
ject. Again, our point of view may be so general as almost 
to lose the significance of being a point of view at all. We 
tnay tell a story simply from the point of view of a listener 


or a narrator. We may write about the horse simply from 
the point of view of a general informant to one who knows 
little or nothing about horses. But it will always be best 
for us to limit our subject to one point of view, if possible, 
however general or however narrow it may haye to be. 
This will keep our work much more unifie'd and sequential. 
After we have had long practice in thus concentrating upon 
small fields, we may launch out into more ambitious ones. 

Enough has now been said about point of view to enable 
us to understand how to "split" or divide almost any title 
we may be given into the various divisions to which it will 
lend itself. When we come to the study of Description we 
shall see that point of view has a further meaning ; namely, 
the place or places from which a thing is viewed. If for 
instance we were writing a description of the house in which 
we live, our point of view might be in the street before the 
house ; or we might go about from place to place, both in- 
side and out, viewing the house from all sides. This mean- 
ing of point of view will be fully discussed later (Chapter 
XIV). For the present we must simply fix in our minds 
how the one meaning differs from the other. We have been 
studying in this chapter point of view as the way or manner 
in which we consider a subject; we are going to study it 
under Description as the place from which a thing is viewed. 
The two, as we shall see, are not at all contradictory. It is 
necessary for an artist, when painting a horse, to view him 
from a certain place after the manner of an artist. The 
aerial navigator will see the aeroplane from a certain place 
and he will also see it with the eye or in the manner of the 
trained expert. When therefore we are attempting to write 
a composition about some person or scene or object, we 
may have occasion to keep in mind two different points of 
view. Here, however, and in the exercises that follow 


the present chapter we shall deal most largely with point of 
view as the manner in which we consider a subject. This 
is sometimes called Personal Point of View as differentiated 
from the point of view of place, which is known as Im- 
personal or Physical Point of View. 


Our composition subject should be further limited by 
our having a definite purpose in its development. Of 
course we should have a purpose in all that we do. If we 
have been at all observant we have seen clearly enough 
that purposeless actions and purposeless lives are usually 
valudess and insignificant. Unless we have a clearly de- 
fined purpose in everything that we do, our "doing" will 
never amount to very much. Moreover, we will be a hin- 
drance not only to ourselves but, what is worse, we shall 
be a cause of delay and exasperation to others, if we go 
through life in an aimless, purposeless fashion. Probably 
all of us at one time or another have been hurrying to get 
somewhere in the crowded street, when we were delayed 
by some slow, "going-nowhere'' person immediately in front 
of us whom it was almost impossible for us to pass and who 
refused to go a whit faster. That aimless, sauntering, time- 
wasting individual was not only not going anywhere him- 
self but he was hindering others from going where they 
wished. We have a purpose in the things of life which per- 
haps we think of least, — we have a purpose in eating our 
food ; in wearing our clothes ; in going to school ; in reading 
a book. Even in our play, where supposedly we throw 
seriousness to the winds, we have a purpose; the purpose, 
namely, of having a good time, of getting exercise, of win- 
ning a certain game. Our parents, our friends, our teach- 


ers, all those about us in our daily routine,, set us excellent 
examples in purposeful, definitely aimed lives and actions. 
They are not, to be sure, constantly telling us about their 
purposes. We should not like them so well if they did do 
so. But we see in their manner of work, and better in their 
accomplishments, that they are definitely and with determi- 
nation centered on one single idea and purpose. 

Now it is most of all necessary for us to have in mind 
a purpose when we write a composition; for nowhere else 
in all our work is there greater necessity for concentration 
and definiteness. The average pen in the hand of the aver- 
age student is very much like a wild colt. The animal runs 
all about the field, getting nowhere at all, yet using the 
whole sward for its exercise. So we, when we sit down 
to write a composition, without having a definite object in 
view, are apt to run all over the paper, to say a great deal 
that we ought not to say and to leave unsaid many things 
that we ought to say. If, however, we bridle the colt and 
put a determined rider on its back, we shall witness a regu- 
lar and purposeful course being taken around the field. 

The purpose of a composition then acts as a sort of 
bridle or restraint to us in handling our subject. If, for 
instance, we are going to write about coal-mining from 
the point of view of a miner, we shall find that even yet we 
have a subject that is too big for all practical composition 
uses. But if we limit it still further by announcing that 
our purpose is to show how difficult it is to mine the coal, 
we have a more workable problem. 

If we were writing on the same subject from the point 
of view of the mine-owner, we should still find our subject 
too broad and we should have to limit it further by stating 
some such purpose, as to show the sources of expenditure 
in coal-mining. And again, writing on "Coal-Mining'' 


from the point of view of a visitor to the mines, our pur- 
pose might very naturally be to show in what a dreary and 
dangerous place the miners have to spend most of their 

Suppose still further that we were going to write a 
composition on "Our Schoolroom" from the point of view 
of the pupil. Some possible purposes might be : — 

To show that the schoolroom is cheerful. 

To show that the schoolroom is comfortable, 

To show that the schoolroom is well equiped for its uses, etc. 

But developing this subject from the point of view of a 
lecturer, we might use none of these, selecting rather more 
appropriate ones in keeping with our new point of view; 
i. e., 

. To show that the acoustics are good. 
To show that the seating plan or arrangement of the room is 

. To show that the lighting is poor, 


And if we were writing on "Our Schoolroom" from the 
point of view of the school physician, we should be obliged 
to readjust our purpose again, perhaps to some such form 
as this : 

To show that the ventilation is defective. 
To show that the desks are too small, 

We see then that, given a single title, we may have 
many 'compositions, as many indeed as we may have pur- 
poses in writing about the subject suggested. Our purpose 
in writing about a certain subject is to show or to prove 
some particular thing about that subject, to limit or divide 


it, and thus to force closer concentration upon one line of 
thought. Let us now examine a few partial plans made 
for the same subject, but with different points of view and 
purposes : 


Point of View — Student of singing 

Purpose — To show the difficulties to be overcome 

I. The early exercises 

1. Numerous 

2. Unmusical 

3. Monotonous. 

II. The constant practice 

1. Enslaving 

2. Exhausting 


III. The wide field of study 

1. Language 

a. Italian 

b. German 

c. French 

d. English 

2. Music 

a. Opera 

b. Lyric 

c. Concert 

d. Old and new masters 


IV. The expense 

1. Instruction 

2. Dress 



3. Music and instruments 

4. Travel 


V. The rewards 

1. Pleasant to please 

2. Refining and cultural 

3. Financial 



Point op View — Listener 

Purpose — To show the many good effects of singing 

I. It soothes our nerves 


11. It comforts in sorrow 

III. It purifies our natures 


IV. It lifts us above the world 




V. It leads us to better things 





Point of View — The famous singer 
Purpose — To show the delights of singing 

I. Giving pleasure to others 

II. Giving help to others 

III.' Interpreting great characters 

IV. Thrilling orreat audiences 


V. Studying different effects of singing 

VI. Receiving approval 


Some very serious warnings ,are necessary in connection 
with determining upon a purpose in composition writing: 

( I ) We must be careful not to take a too general pur- 
pose; one, that is, that is too much like the subject, or that 
does not sufficiently limit it ; for example : — 

Title — John's Escape. 

Point of view — That of an on-looker. 

Purpose — To show how John escaped. 


The purpose here is practically the same as the title. Ob- 
viously, if we are going to write about John's escape, we 
shall tell how he escaped. No sooner did our reader see 
the title than he surmised that he would be told haw John 
escaped. It will bore him therefore to read that our pur- 
pose is to show how John escaped, and we should not blame 
him very much if he refused to read any further. But 
perhaps he would be interested if we were to show John's 
bravery, or to prove John's thoughtfulness, or to point out 
how cleverly John avoided a mean trick that had been 
planned for him. These would be much better purposes 
and much more interesting, not only to read about, but to 
write about, as well. Let us avoid therefore making a re- 
statement of our title in our purpose. 

(2) When a title contains a proper name we shall 
often find ourselves inclined to refer our purpose to some 
definite aim that the subject has in mind, rather than to 
something that we have in mind about the subject. In 
"John's Escape", for instance, our purpose is the thing to 
be borne in mind by us. We must show something — 
bravery, thoughtfulness, cleverness — about John. We must 
not state John's purpose. We must not write anything like 
the following as a purpose : — 

To get out of the burning building. 
To save his life, 
To escape a dudcing. 

Any one of these may have been John's purpose, but John 
is not writing this composition. We, who are writing it, 
must set up some definite characteristic displayed by John 
when he got out of the burning building, or when he saved 
his life, or when he escaped a ducking. We must never 
forget that this matter of purpose is personal to us; it 


represents our aim to show some particular thing about the 

(3) None of us would ever seriously state that our 
purpose is to write a composition. We may have heard of 
this being done for humorous reasons, and we know well 
enough that our primary purpose is to write a composition. 
Let us not waste our time, however, even for the sake of 
such a commendable thing as humor, by saying that our 
purpose is : 

To write a composition, or 

To make somebody miserable, or 

To get a good mark, etc. 

And we should also remember in this connection that, when 
we are writing compositions, titles for which are based upon 
reading that we have been doing, we are justified irt hold- 
ing ourselves to the purpose of the original if we have been 
careful to study that out. In making a deductive outline, 
for instance, we should state the point of view and the pur- 
pose of the author of the original. This is a part of our 
work and we may depend upon it, that the author whom we 
are studying had a very clear and definite purpose to 


I. State as many points of view and purposes as 
you can for each of the following. Then make an outline 
for one title, point of view and purpose : 

Our Streets 

Jim's Adventure 

Our School Building 

The Automobile 

Rowing 1 


II. Criticise the following purposes, substitute bet- 
ter ones, and plan a composition for each : — 

a. Tom's Anger 

. To show how angry Tom can get 

b. My Trip to School 

To show how I go to school 

c. Prince's Faithfulness 

To show how faithful Prince is 

d. The Alarm 

To warn people of robbery 

e. The Great Bridge 

To enable people to cross the river 

III. Take all the illustrative plans in the chapters 
previous to this one and state point of view and purpose for 

IVi Make four plans for the following title, using 
the different points of view and purposes given in suc- 
cessive plans : — 


a. Point of view of ordinary citizen 
Purpose — To show the pleasures it affords 

b. Point of view of visitor 
Purpose — ^To show its beauties 

c. Point of view of physician 
Purpose — To show its benefits 

d. Point of view of caretakers 

Purpose — To show the carelessness of the people 

V. John arrived at school late this morning after 
an absence of a week. Not having a note to excuse his ab- 
sence and tardiness, he was sent home for it, returning to 
school at noon. 


Make outlines of compositions you would write: 

a. from John's point of view, 

b. from the teacher's point of view, 

c. from John's mother's point of view. 

VI. Draw up plans explaining your daily program 
to a classmate ; to your father ; to a friend in another city. 
State purpose and point of view of each. Explain the dif- 
ferences among your three plans and tell why they are 

VII. State both personal and impersonal points of 
view and purpose for each of the following: — 

The House in Which I Live 

The Sunset 

The Pay-as-you-enter Car 

Our Largest Hotel 

The Lake in Early Morning 

VIII. Make plans for the lives of three widely differ- 
ent men of whom you have read. Explain how these plans 
differ from one another and why that difference is neces- 

IX. Outline the life of a great author in three ways. 
X. Make a deductive plan of some passage in His- 
tory or Biology, or other subject (except English) that you 
have recently studied. Be sure to state point of view and 

XL Make a detailed study plan of this chapter, stat- 
ing point of view and purpose. 

XIL Complete the partial plans presented under 
"Purpose" by inserting as many subordinate topics as you 
can think of. 



It may seem little short of absurd for us to consider 
planning in connection with letter-writing. We are so ac- 
customed to sitting down and writing our letters spon- 
taneously and rapidly, that we are inclined to think that a 
planned letter would be artificial and mechanical, that it 
would not ring quite true. Yet, there is probably no type 
of composition that suffers more as a result of failure to 
plan than letter-writing. We do not mean of course that 
an elaborate plan should be made for the average letter. 
Considered proportionately the plan for a letter need not 
be nearly, so detailed as that for a composition, unless it 
be a long advertising or circular letter we are writing. But 
all of our business and social letters should be well thought 
out in advance of writing; the points we desire to make 
should be set down consecutively on a piece of paper, or 
should be strictly so kept in mind while writing. How 
often have we read letters (if not written them ourselves) 
in which two or more sentences bearing on the same gen- 
eral subject were separated by sentences bearing upon to- 
tally different points! And how often have we read and 
written letters to which a postscript was added, — ^that con- 
fession in black and white to a haphazard and confused habit 
of thinking. If we consult some business men of our ac- 
quaintance and ask them how much time is wasted, how 
much money is lost, as a result of unorganized and thus 
misunderstood letters, we shall be appalled at their reply. 
The least, then, that we can do when writing a letter, out of 




courtesy to the reader, is to have some good plan in mind, 
however general it may be, and to follow it unwaveringly. 
If we think that we do not owe this to ourselves, we must 
consider that we have an obligation to the person by whom 
the letter is to be read. 

Letters^ as we have probably studied before, may be 
classified as follows : — 




Informal ^ 



' Acquaintances 

' Business 

Of the first group — Formal Letters — ^we shall say but little 
and observe much. On the pages immediately following 
are illustrations of all kinds of formal notes. If we ob- 
serve them closely, under the direction of our instructor, we 
shall see that : 

1. they are very short, 

2. they are written in the third person, 

3. they vary in order of contents, 

4. they omit any such beginning as "My dear Sir", 

5. they omit any such closing as "Yours truly", 

6. they frequently have dates and street numbers written 


7. they are sometimes undated, except in so far as dates 

occur within the note, 

8. they vary in style of writing, in marginal arrange- 

ment, etc., 

9. they may omit place of residence of sender, 
10. they may omit place of residence of recipient, 


11. they are capitalized irregularly, 

12. they frequently contain the letters, R. S. V. P. (please 

reply, in French), in the lower right hand corner. 

The following indicate the style to be used for formal 
notes, announcements and invitations : 

Mrs. James EvereU request the pleasure of 
Miss Hepburn^s company at dinner on Tuesday , 
May the third, at seven o^clock. 

20 Carlton Place, 
April the twenty-sixth. 

Miss Hepburn regrets that a previous engagement 
prevents her accepting Mrs, EveretVs kind invita- 
tion to dinner on Tuesday, May the third, at 
seven o^clock. 

4 Trent Avenue, 
April thirtieth. 


Mr. and Mrs. John H. Kehoe 

announce Ike marriage of their daughter 

May Estelle 


Mr, Carl St. John Fourton 

on Monday the twenty-third of December 

nineteen hundred and eight 

New York 


Mr. &• Mrs, Joseph Benson Foraker 
request the honor of 

company at the wedding breakfast of their daughter 



Mr. Francis King Wainwright 

on Wednesday the eighth of January 

at half after twelve 0* clock 

Fifteen hundred Sixteenth Street 


Mr. Clarence Aaron Britton 

Miss Mary Blanche Ferris 


Saturday y the ninth of November 

one thousand nine hundred and eight 

New York City 


At Home 

Tuesday the twenty-first of November 

5J Quincy Place, N. E, 

Mr. and Mrs. Charles William Clinton 
request the pleasure of 

39 East 57tk Street 


As a rule these notes, in our modem times, are en- 
graved by the stationers. Blank spaces are left in them 
for the insertion by hand of such de.tails as dates, events, 
places, etc. (see illustrations on previous pages). This 
simplifies matters considerably. We are saved from social 
blunders in this line by the ingenuity of our stationer. 
Leaving the stationer out of the question, however, it is 
rarely that we are called upon to write such formal notes as 
those here reproduced. Usually our invitations are from 
sc«ne one with whom we are sufficiently well acquainted to 
permit us to write our replies informally. In case we do 
write formal notes we should be careful to keep the person 
consistently third. It would be very bad form indeed to 
write a closing, such as "Yours truly", to a formal note. 
If we observe these examples most closely we shall have 
guidance for good form always in writing such formal 
notes as we are called upon to write. We should not neg- 
lect the study of them even though we may have occasion 
but rarely to write such things. We can never tell when 
we shall have to meet an emergency in this very line of 

With Informal Letters it is another story. We are 
called upon almost daily to write informal letters of one 
kind or another; and there is no form of composition in 
which we should take so much pride and care as in these. 
They represent us. We are what our letters indicate that 
we are. If we read a man's letter we can in most cases 
get a considerable insight into his character. We must 
therefore dwell at some length upon informal letters of the 
various types, studying their form, their phraseology, and 
their arrangement. 

The parts of a letter — ^the divisions into which it falls — 
and the sequence of these parts are as follows : — 


I. The heading 

1. Address of writer 

2. Date 

II. The address of person to whom letter is written 
(often placed below VII. to the left) 

1. His name 

2. His address 

III. The salutation 

1. "My dear Sir" 

2. "Dear John" 


IV. The body of the letter 

(The letter proper) 

V. The participial closing (optional) 

1. The subject 

2. The punctuation 

VI. The complimentary closing 

1. "Yours sincerely" 

2. "Faithfully yours" 


VII. The signature 

I. Full name of the writer 

This is the general plan or outline of all the informal 
letters we shall have to write. There are minor modifica- 
tions which we shall note in due course, but, generally 
speaking, all letters should follow this plan. We may learn 
here that Point II may stand last in our letter if we prefer; 
that is, the name and address of the recipient of the letter 
may be placed at the end of the letter on the left-hand side, 
beginning on the line just below the signature. Of course 
the bulk of any informal letter — the largest proportion of 
it — will be given to Point IV. It is here that we state our 
purpose in writing the letter and negotiate our business, if 
we happen to be writing a business letter. 



The form in which these parts should be placed on the 
paper can best be shown by producing a sample letter and 
drawing lines through it to indicate margins, etc. We 
should study this illustration with the explanation that fol- 
lows very minutely indeed. It is the model on which we 
shall have much subsequent work to do : — 

(B) (D) 



Mr. James Ferguson, 
30 Broadway, 

New York City. 

Dear Mr. Ferguson: — 

Dec. 26, we beg to thank 
assure you that it will be 
forwarded by the United 
and should reach you tom- 
any errors made in filling 
shipment, we shall estee 
immediately, so that we 

your further patronage, 


Lenox Avenue, 
New York City, N. Y., 
Dec. 31, 1910. 



In r 






m it 



we a 


eply to your communication of 

for your generous order and to 

d at once. The goods will be 

tes Express Company to-day 

w morning. If there has been 

order, or any damage done in 

a courtesy if you wiU notify us 

have the matter rectified. 

nking you again, and soliciting 

re _ 



erely yours, 


J. C. Evans and Company. I] VII 

On the right-hand side of this specimen letter we have 
bracketed and numbered the parts corresponding to the num- 
bers used in the outline of the parts of a letter. 

Line A indicates the left-hand margin which we know 
should never be omitted from any piece of writing that 
we do. 

Line B is the middle margin; the margin on which are 
begun the heading, the paragraphs of the letter, and the 
complimentaiy ^rlpsing. It may not always be possible to 



make the paragraph margin one and the same with the mar- 
gin for the heading and the complitnentary closing. It is 
better to do so whenever possible, for it simplifies our letter 
construction. Too many margins, or too many places where 1 
lines begin independently of each other, spoil the appearance ! 
of a letter and confuse the eye at once on our looking at the 
letter page. The first paragraph should begin immediately ; 
after (as frequently in business letters), or immediately 
after and under, the salutation. In case the salutation is 
short it will not be possible to do this and at the same \ 
time keep the middle margin common to paragraphs, head- i 
ing, and closing. We are then justified in establishing two | 
middle margins, — one for paragraphs and another for the ^ 
heading and the closing; thus : — 


(C) (D) 




Mr. James P 
Dear Sir: 

York City. 

In reply to your, e 

Thanking you, etc. 





Lenox Avenue, 
New York City, 
Dec. 31, 1910. 

erely yours. 

J. C. Evans and Company. 


Here as a result of the brief salutation, it has been neces- 
sary to establish a separate paragraph margin at which 
not only the first paragraph but all that follow should begin. 
We have in other words moved margin B slightly to the left 
and inserted margin C. 

Line D represents the margin supplementary to the 
heading and complimentary closing margin. 

Lines E, F, and G are drawn to show that these reced- 
ing margins should be regularly receding ; that is, each line 
should begin at a uniform distance to the right of the 
preceding one. Sometimes we read or hear it said that in 
addresses the right-hand side should be even at whatever 
expense of irregularity on the left side, but this is a mistake. 


200 Lenox Avenue, 
New York City, 
Dec. 31, 1910. 


•200 Lenox Avenue, 

New York City, 

Dec. 31, 191a 

is a better arrangement in headings, addresses and closings. 
This direction holds quite as well for the address on the 
envelope as for that within the letter. Of course if we 
can so arrange it as to have a regularly diagonal margin on 
the left and a regularly perpendicular one on the right, it 
will be the best arrangement of all. But this will probably 
not often be possible for us. 

John J. James, Esq., 

125 Hilary St., 

Chicago, 111. 

Now let us take up separately each part of our illustra- 
tive letter and examine the punctuation and whatever other 


details it may be necessary to examine. It is becoming more 
and more the fashion to omit punctuation from headings 
and addresses in letters, all, that is, but the period after 
abbreviations. This is quite right provided we are con- 
sistent in the matter and omit it in all places if we omit it 
in one. The trouble is, we shall find ourselves punctuating 
sometimes and not at others, if we are not exceedingly 
watchful, and this of course will result in bad form. We 
are assuming in this chapter that the long-established cus- 
tom of punctuating is still to be used. 

First, let us look again at the heading of our letter, — 

200 Lenox Ave., 

New York City, N. Y., 
Dec. 31, 1910. 

We understand that all abbreviations must be followed by 
a period. We are not always careful however to separate 
the different phrases of our headings by means of commas. 
We may have learned that the comma is used to denote the 
omission of a word or a phrase. This is true in many 
cases of its use. It is true also in the heading and in the 
address of a letter. Properly expanded this heading would 
read as follows : — 

Written at 200 Lenox Avenue in New York City on Dec. 31 
during 1910. 

Our commas therefore stand for certain omitted words, 
and perhaps we shall be less likely to forget them if we 
understand exactly what they stand for. It sometimes hap- 
pens that we see a heading arranged in this way : — 

200 Lenox Ave., 


Dec. 31, 1910, 


New York City. 



This is bad because we have confused our sequence. Lines 
(i) and (3) both indicate places that are related to one- 
another. Line (2) represents time. It will occur to us at 
once that it is a good deal better to keep the lines referring 
to places immediately sequential, and following (or pre- 
ceding them, if we choose) with reference to time. If we 
are using business stationery for our correspondence, this 
point, as we well enough know, is settled for us. Here 
the only thing we have to do is to insert the date. The 
whole heading occupies many printed lines or sometimes 
but a single line, as 

200 Lenox Ave., New York City, N. Y., 191 . 

Oftentimes also the following heading is used, having 
an equal diagonal margin on both sides : — 

200 Lenox Avenue, 
New York City, May 12, 1912. 

The punctuation and the sequence however remain the 
same. It is allowable and preferable for us of course to 
reduce the number of lines in the heading whenever possible. 
Here in the business letter we have it reduced to its sim- 
plest form. We can rarely have fewer than two lines, how- 
ever, in headings of our own writing. Frequently we may 

need four : — 

200 Lenox Ave., New York, 
Dec. 31, 1910. 


"The Continental", 
200 Lenox Ave., 
New York City, 
Dec. 31, 1910. 


The address which follows next, but which we said 
might be placed at the lower left-hand corner of the letter 
commencing on the line immediately following the signa- 
ture, is punctuated in the same way as the heading, a comma 
being placed at the end of each line or part. Here again 
a word may always be substituted for it : — 

Mr. James Ferguson at 30 Broadway in New York City. 

And here also, if we can reduce the address to two lines, 
we may do so. 

The following salutations are all used in commercial cor- 
respondence. They are arranged from the more to the less 
dignified. We should notice carefully the capitalization and 
the punctuation in each example : — 

(i) Sir: (or Sirs:) Madam: (or Ladies:) 

(2) Honorable Sir: 

(3) Gentlemen:— Mesdames: — (or Ladies: — ) 

(4) Dear Sir — Dear Madam — 
(or Dear Sirs — ) 

(5) My dear Sir: — My Dear Madam: — 
(or My Dear Sirs : — ) 

(6) My dear Mr. Oliver, My dear Mrs. Oliver, 
(or My Dear Mr. Oliver,) 

No. (2) is a salutation to be used in writing to the Mayor 
of a city or to some man in high public position. In (5) 
and (6) the adjective may or may not be capitalized. It 
used to be considered improper to capitalize it, but usage 
has rapidly justified its capitalization. 

In social letters the following salutations may be used, 
according to the relations existing between the parties con- 
cerned in the letter. These are also arranged from the 
more to the less dignified : — 


(i) My dear Mr. French: — (or Pear) 

(2) Dear John, — 

(3) Dear Uncle Ned, 

(4) My dear Sister — (or Z>ear) 

(5) Dear Mother, 

(6) Dear Miss Evans: 

(i) is used in writing to a friend or an acquaintance; (2) 
to a friend; (3), (4), and (5), to relatives. We see that 
there is a very wide variety of choice in the matter of punc- 
^ation at the end of the salutation. We may use any of 
the following : — 

(Comma) (comma and dash) (colon) (colon and dash) (dash) 

9 9 • • 

5 4123 

and it makes very little difference which one of these we 
use. Any one may be used under any circumstances with 
any form of salutation, in spite of the tradition that they 
rank from formal to informal as they are numbered above. 
The curious fact is that, having such a wide range of choice, 
we so frequently discard them all and use the semicolon or 
the period, — (;) or (.) — ^the only ones of our common 
marks that we should not use. To use either the semicolon 
or the period after the salutation stamps one as illiterate. 

The body of the letter will be discussed fully a page or 
two further on when we come to study the letter plan 
proper. Suffice it now to say that we should here, as in a 
regular composition, paragraph our material ; that, while it 
is not at all improper to start a letter with the pronoun "I*' 
and to use it within the letter, yet we should avoid its use 
wherever possible, just as we do with a becoming modesty 
in all of our writing and conversation ; and that, when we 
conclude the body of our letter with a participial phrase 


(the participial complimentary closing), we should be care- 
ful to have a word for that phrase to modify : — 

"Hoping to hear from you soon, I am 

Sincerely yours," 


Here we have a complete sentence, the subject being "F 
the predicate, "am'* ; the attribute, "yours". "I" is modi- 
fied by the participle ''hoping". "Am" is not followed by 
a comma because it has an attribute complement belonging 
to it on the line below. "John is good" is a sentence having 
the same kind of construction as "I am yours", only it is 
written entirely on one line instead of on two. We would 
not think of placing a comma after "is", but we frequently 
make the mistake of placing one after "am" in such cases 
as the above. If we are sure to understand this grammati- 
cal structure we will readily see how illiterate the following 
appears : — 

"Hoping to hear from you soon. 

Sincerely yours," 

In connection with the participial complimentary closing it 
should be borne in mind that the somewhat popular 

"Thanking you in advance for the courtesy, I remain 

Sincerely yours," 

is no longer considered good form, if it ever was. It is lit- 
tle short of presumption to write a letter asking for a favor 
and then to conclude it with thanks in advance. "Thanking 
in advance" smacks something too much of the spirit of 
forcing, of epistolary bribery, of an attempt to force the 
reader by a studied courtesy into granting our request. Of 
course we should always be polite in our letters, but never 
at the risk of being thought presumptuous. "I remain" is 


good form only when we have had previous communication 
with the person to whom we are writing.' We cannot re- 
main sincere to a person with whom we have as yet had no 
relations. Such a closing might very properly be used in 
a letter to our brothers or sisters or friends ; but to compara- 
tive strangers "I am" is a much more fitting conclusion. 

So much for the participial phrase which so often pref- 
aces the complimentary closing of our letters. Let us now 
look at the complimentary closing itself. This should 
always be followed with a comma, because, grammatically, 
it is in apposition with the signature which immediately fol- 
lows. Even where the complimentary close consists of but 
a single adverb, as in no. 5 below, the comma should be 
used, for "yours" is understood after it, though not ex- 
pressed. If we are sure to understand the grammatical 
construction of this part, as in the participial closing, we 
shall probably not go very far wrong in our punctuation. 
The first word only in the complimentary closing should be 
capitalized : — 

(i) Sincerely your friend, 

(2) Ever faithfully yours, 

(3) Truly yours, 

(4) Yours truly, 

(5) Cordially, 

(6) Your sister, 

(7) Respectfully yours, 

In every case the complimentary closing should be fol- 
lowed by the full signature of the writer. As a rule this is 
not done in social letters. We feel that we are on terms 
of such intimate standing with the one to whom we are 
writing that we can properly sign our first names only, or 
some pet name perhaps. The chief reason for writing the 
full signature is that, in case the letter gets lost or severed 


from the envelope, it can be returned to the writer. If 
however we have been careful to inclose the address of the 
one to whom we are writing, we may think this precaution 
unnecessary. But we are usually careless also about writing 
the addresses of our friends in our letters to them. In any 
event, we should be careful to have some guidance within 
the letter for those whose duty it is to forward or return 
strayed or missent letters. 

In addressing the envelopes for our letters, we should 
adopt the diagonal margin with care, though more and more 
the vertical margin is being adopted by busineiss houses 
largely as a matter of typing convenience. We should 
punctuate at the end of every line, or we should omit punc- 
tuation everywhere; we should precede the name with Mr. 
or Mrs. or Miss, etc., as the case may be. If writing to 
professional or public people we should prefix the proper 
title to their names ; such as. Dr. or Rev. or Hon. or Prof., 
etc. Englishmen use Esq. after the name instead of Mr. 
before it. Never however should we use both a title before 
and a title after the name in an address. The examples 
that follow, if studied closely, will probably be found suffi- 
cient to meet all our needs : — 

John Blank, Esq., Mrs. Everett R Walsh, 

20 Strand, 2001 Michigan Ave., 

London, Chicago, 111. 

Dr. A. J. Vaughan, Messrs. Block Bros., 

91 Halsey Street, 28 State Street, 

Brooklyn, Chicago, 111. 
New York. 

The Rev. A. C. Ely, Mr. J. S. Crawford, 

"The Maples", 125 Broadway, 

Forest Grove, New York. 


So much then for the mere form in letter-writing. After 
all, our best instruction in all of this must come by closely 
observing actual letters as sent out by people who are en- 
gaged in writing letters a great deal, and by our own 
practice. We have studied here one good form to follow in 
all our correspondence. There are perhaps many others 
quite as good, but let us heed the advice here given until 
we are sure that we are masters of it. There is no depart- 
ment of writing so subject to the whims of style or fashion 
as that of letter-writing. There is no end of fads in con- 
nection with the addressing of envelopes, the writing of 
headings, the style of stationery, etc. It is better never 
to become "faddists" in anything until we have first become 
masters in it. Unfortunately the two words are not syno- 
nyms. If, after reading a letter from a friend we can 
truthfully say of it, "It's just like him to write such a let- 
ter", we have paid the writer a high compliment. The good 
letter is the one that savors most sincerely of our own per- 
sonality. If our letters are "like us" they are good letters. 
But in order to make them most like us when we are at our 
best, we should meditate upon them briefly and outline them 
either mentally or on paper before writing them. 

A few examples of brief letter plans will now be given 
in order that we may grasp the idea fully before proceeding 
to plan our own letters. Suppose some young man is going 
away from home for a sojourn of a few weeks. His 
parents expect him to write them immediately upon his 
arrival. The body of his letter might be planned somewhat 
after this fashion : — 

1. My journey 

2. My arrival 

3. My location 

4. My good wishes for all 


This, briefly, might represent the table of contents of his 
letter. He may combine points 1-2-3 ^^ ^he first paragraph, 
and develop point 4 in a brief closing one ; or he may make 
his letter longer if he desires to do so. The point is that 
some such plan as this, decided upon before he commences 
to write, will save his letter from confusion by giving it a 
natural and logical sequence. 

After he has been at the place for a few weeks he may 
plan a letter to one of his fellows somewhat thus : — 

1. Inquiries after all friends 

2. His sports and pastimes 

3. The people at the place 

4. His regards to all 

A letter to his mother or father, to his sister or brother, 
should follow some such regular line of development as that 
suggested here. He should search his mind to ascertain 
what things they will probably want to hear about, — perhaps 
the place, the people, the pastimes; he should by no means 
forget his good wishes for the people at home, making indi- 
vidual inquiry about particular members of the family; if 
he has forgotten anything that he needs, or if he is sending 
something to them, he should arrange such material in a 
paragraph by itself. 

Now this general direction applies as easily and as 
pointedly to whatever social or other correspondence we 
may have to do. If we have taken a new position, we might 
write home about 

1. The character of the work 

2. The colleagues in the work 

3. The impression so far 

4. The welfare of parents and others 

and perhaps many other things, according to the require- 
ments of the individual case. Moreover, the arrangement 


of the contents of a letter may be quite arbitrary, provided 
however we always bear in mind that it is not well to say 
too much of ourselves, at least at the very outset. It is a 
mark of courtesy to make inquiry after the affairs and health 
of those to whom we are writing, early in the letter, though 
this plan is not often followed. We usually have the ques- 
tionable assurance to write considerably about ourselves 
and then to "tag on" at the end our short inquiries and 
regards. But, after all is said and done, the proper thing 
is to arrange our letter material in some consistent, uncon- 
fused way and thus give our readers a minimum of trouble 
in reading them, and, if possible, a maximum of pleasure. 

The paragraph ^plan can be used most satisfactorily in 
arranging a letted. Deciding beforehand just what we 
want to say, we shall find it a distinct advantage to have the 
topic .sentence of each section or paragraph of our letter 
already decided upon when we come to write the actual 
letter. Thus, a person writing to a friend in England, who 
is more or less of a public man, might arrange his letter 
material in this fashion : — 

1. I sincerely trust that my not hearing from you for so 
long a time means no private or family troubles, but, 
rather, your public success. 

2. So far as I have seen in the press, political affairs in 
England seem to have taken a turn for the better. 

3. The world has been fairly good to your American 

4. We are all looking forward to the pleasure of seeing 
you in the summer. 

5. Our best wishes are yours. 

We have here indicated the contents of each paragraph of 
the letter, and now the matter of writing it is nothing more 
than one of mere expansion. 


In short notes, such as mothers or fathers write to^ 
our teachers to excuse our absences and other delinquencies, 
our plans need not be so elaborate, but they should be quite 
as positive and distinct. Thus we shall find an excuse some- 
times very properly following this order : — 

1. Request to be excused 

2. Reason for absence 

3. Courteous complimentary closing 

or this 

1. Reason for absence 

2. Request or excuse 

3. Request to have lessons made up 

4. Appreciation of courtesy 

Any order, so long as there is order, may be used. 

We ourselves may be called upon to write to our Prin- 
cipal to ask for some favor or privilege. We know*how 
prone he is to say to us when we ask him personally for 
anything, 'Tut it in writing, please". This should put us 
on our mettle and we should be eager to do our best. Let 
us then plan the. note carefully first, perhaps something like 
this : — 

I. In compliance with your request, I write to say, 

1. that I should like to drop French 

a. Reasons 

2. that I should like to substitute Spanish 

a. Reasons 

3. that my parents and I shall be much indebted to yoii 

for your best advice in the matter 

or, more briefly, 

1. My reason for writing 

2. My first request 4i_ 

3. My second request 

4. Appreciation 


lut we must never forget that the numbers used in tabu- 
iting our points do not necessarily mean that we have as 
lany paragraphs in our expanded work as we have topics, 
[n the form just considered our note is to be a short one 
and it would look a bit queer perhaps to break it up into 
four parts. We might very easily combine 2 and 3, there- 
fore, having a brief introductory paragraph and a brief 
concluding one. 

Letters of congratulation and of condolence are fre- 
quently regarded not only as difficult to write, but as dis- 
agreeable. This feeling is very largely due to the fact 
that people do not think or plan them out definitely before 
sitting down to write them. No cut and dried formula 
can be set down for such letters, or for any letters for 
that matter, except in a most general way. Every letter 
that we write will of course have certain definite, individual 
details peculiar to itself, but we shall be the better able to 
cope with these individual situations if we form the habit 
of carefully planning before we write. Suppose a good 
friend has just won a prize for diligence at school. We 
will write him telling him, 

1. How glad we are to hear of his success, 

2. How much we hope that he shall have such success 

3. How anxious we are to hear from one whom we are 
so proud to know, 

or telling him 

1. That we were not surprised, for we knew he deserved 

2. That we congratulate him heartily, 

3. That we hope his success is significant of what his 
whole life is going to be, 

4. That he must write us and tell us how it feels to have 
"grown so great". 


Later, we may be called upon to write him a note con- 
gratulating him upon his recent marriage. If so, we may 

1. Congratulate the groom on his good fortune, 

2. Wish both bride and groom continuous prosperity and 

3. Assure them of our lasting regard. 

In case a friend has had the misfortune to fail in some 
important examination, we should write to say, 

1. That we are sorry, 

2. That the greatest successes have been bred of failure, 

3. That we know such will be the case with this failure. 

If a friend has lost a close relative, we may write him, 

1. That we are grieved for him, 

2. That we are eager to assure him of our warm friend- 
ship in such a crisis, 

3. That we are anxious to render him any service. 

All such notes as those above sketched must be brief. 
It is the very rare exception indeed when the ktter of con- 
gratulation or of condolence should be long. People that 
are very happy or very unhappy have not as a rule either 
the time or the inclination to read long treatises on the 
lot that has fallen to them. 

It must be distinctly understood that in the considera- 
tion of commercial letters (as in that of social let- 
ters) it is impossible to illustrate every kind of letter that 
may have to be written. As has just been said, every let- 
ter we write may call for some particular handling of some 
new thing. Indeed, we cannot discuss all the different 
forms of one kind of letter even, such a one for instance 
as that of answering an advertisement. To do so would 


mean that we should have to answer nearly all the adver- 
tisements in a paper on a single day, for each one may 
call for some special thing. But as has also been said (not 
too often, we hope) if we form the habit of planning cer- 
tain kinds of letters, we shall get the training that will 
enable us to plan for all kinds, to meet any emergency in 
correspondence that may confront us. 

We have divided commercial letters into 




and we will now study a few illustrations of plans for 
each of these, as we have done with the preceding group. 
In answering an advertisement it is a good plan to 
follow in our letter the order observed in the advertise- 
ment. Unfortunately this cannot always be done, for ad- 
vertisements are frequently very badly written and exhibit 
no consistent plan whatever. Instead, however, of this be- 
ing a disadvantage, it may be turned to advantage by us, in 
that we may be able to show a possible fiiture employer 
that we possess a sense of order which his advertisement 
lacks, and thus we may impress him. Most advertisements 
for help perhaps ask for all or some of these four or five 
things, — age, education, experience, reference, salary expect- 
ed, — ^and usually this order is a good one to follow. In the 
first paragraph of our letter we can state our age and educa- 
tion; in the second, our experience and references; in the 
third short one, the salary expected. Or we might write 
five paragraphs of varying lengths, assigning one to each 
topic. In no case should we include all of our material in 
answer to such an advertisement in one paragraph. The 
proportions in such a letter are at once evident, — our ex- 


perience needs to be treated in detail; our education may 
be next in importance; our references, next; and our age 
and the salary we expect should be given the briefest pos- 
sible space. Whether or not the advertisement asks for 
all these things, it is well for us to include them, stressing 
the points that the advertisement does mention. It is also 
well for us to place additional emphasis upon any phase of 
our experience or our education that we think particularly 
likely to aid us in securing the position. It is customary, 
though not always necessary, to preface such a letter with 
a brief phrase or clause telling where and when the adver- 
tisement was seen ; and to conclude it with an expression of 
hope that the application be favorably considered. Of 
course such matters of form as penmanship, punctuation, 
the omission of the pronoun "I" wherever possible, cour- 
teous and correct expression, all of which count for so 
much in applications for positions, must be watched with 
particular care. Our letter plan then for such a case as 
we have been here discussing might run somewhat as fol- 
lows : — 

1. Preface, age, and education. 

2. Experience and references. 

3. Salary expected. 

4. Conclusion, usually linked with participial compli- 

mentary closing. 

The order may be changed as our judgment dictates in 
special situations. Sometimes age, salary expected, whether 
the applicant be married or single, and such other details, 
are combined in a single paragraph at the beginning. This 
arrangement has the merit of stating the important things, 
such as experience and references, at the very outset, so 
that they are read when the reader's mind is fresh to the 


In the ordinary business-question letter — a letter, that 
is, to a man or a firm asking for some special information — 
a prefatory sentence or brief paragraph is usually employed 
in which the privilege of inquiry is courteously asked, or 
the purpose of the letter stated. This is followed by the 
questions proper, and the letter is concluded with a parti- 
cipial complimentary closing. Our general plan for such a 
letter would then read as follows : — 

I. Preface 

"You will be good enough I hope to permit me to ask 
you a few questions in regard to your manufacturing 
plant. The information is to be used by me in a public 
debate — etc." 

II. Questions 


III. Complimentary closing 

"Trusting that answering so many questions will not 
be too great an invasion of your valuable time, I am 

Respectfully yours. 

And here again we must remember that this is by no means 
a hard and fast form but that it is one good form for 
soliciting information. If we vary it we should always 
bear in mind the fact that our questions should be presented 
in some logical order, — in the order of what we regard 
their importance, perhaps, or in the order in which their 
answers would naturally unfold the information solicited. 
And somewhere in the letter there should always be a cour- 
teous apology for the intrusion which our letter makes, or 
a courteous expression of thanks for the privilege of writ- 


ing to the party for whom the letter is intended for in- 
formation. This latter is especially important when our 
questioning is not likely to result in probable future pat- 
ronage, but rather when it is made for purposes quite for- 
eign to the interests of the one to Whom it is sent; as in 
the illustration. 

In answering a business letter it is of course a good 
plan to take up each question in turn and answer it, unless 
two or more questions can be grouped under a single an- 
swer. There should also be an expression, either at the 
beginning or at the end, of pleasure in being able to fur- 
nish the information solicited. This is oftentimes linked 
with some such statement as, — "Assuring you of our prompt 
attention in case we can be of further service, we are, etc." | 
This and other similar amenities in letter-writing are neces- -j 
sary (though perhaps not always meant) to give a letter 
a courteous tone which no business house can afford to 
have its letters omit. There should -never be any brusque- 
ness or abruptness in anything that we write, least of all in 
our letters, even though we be called upon often to write 
letters that are foreign to the actual business which we 
represent. ^ 

In the case of our writing to publishers, — ^to order 
books, let us say, — the table of contents of our letter may 
be: — 

1. Enclosure 

2. Names and numbers of books 

3. Method of sending them 

4. Complimentary closing 

Point I is frequently wrongly written as follows, — 

"Enclosed please find five dollars ($5.00) for which, etc." The word "please" belongs before the word 


"send", not before "find". The obligation, if there be any, 
is because of the sending, not because of the publisher's 
finding money in the envelope. 

There are probably as many kinds of order letters as 
there are kinds of business. Here as elsewhere we must 
simply bear in mind the importance of planning all of 
them before writing them. It is even more important if 
possible in these than in others, for the reasons that money 
is involved in the transaction, and that, if we want our 
orders accurately filled, we must state them accurately. 
We may write to a shop ordering clothes ; to a theater, or- 
^dering seats; to ^ newspaper office, ordering a paper sent 
us ; to a thousand different places ordering things of a thou- 
sand different natures. In every case let us plan our let- 
ters explicitly, if not as follows, then in some equally good 

way: — 

1. Mention enclosure 

2. State clearly what is wanted 
i 3. Tell how it should be sent 

4. Qose courteously 

The circular letter is, as a rule, an advertising letter ; a 
letter, that is, that explains fully all about a certain com- 
modity and solicits patronage. It is nothing oftentimes 
but a composition in explanation cast into the letter form. 
It may contain description and argument and narration, 
but, if so, they are all used for the purpose of elucidating 
the explanation, and impressing the usefulness of some 
particular commodity upon us. Sometimes such letters are 
opened with a polite appeal for our consideration and at- 
tention, followed by a complete explanation of the thing to 
be advertised, and closed with a strong appeal for our pa- 
tronage. This gives us a tripartite division and presupposes 
the formal plan : 


I. Introduction 

1. Appeal for consideration 

2. Statement of purpose of letter 

II. Discussion 

I. Full explanation of article or property or whatever it 
may be, by means of description, narration, or argu- 
ment, or all combined 

III. Conclusion 

I. Solicitation of purchase 

In many cases however the explanation of the matter is 
placed first in order to catch the reader's attention at once, 
and the details of courtesy, such as, "thanking you for the 
privilege of writing one whose patronage would be a com- 
pliment to the firm", are placed last or subordinately. 

Circular letters again may take the form of complaint. 
We may write a long letter to the principal of our school 
complaining of various curtailments of our liberties, or 
asking for certain extensions of privileges. Whatever our 
subject may be we should follow some such plan as this :— 

1. Statement of our purpose in writing the letter, 

2. Seriatim enumeration of complaints or requests, 

3. Complimentary closing, thanking for past courtesies 
and hoping that the present requests (or complaints) 
will not appear ungrateful or presumptuous. 

Sometimes the circular takes the form of narration 
and excludes all other material. A story is told in which 
characters are made to converse about the commodity to be 
disposed of, or in which the commodity itself figures as an 
actor. "The Road to Wellville", "The Gold-Dust Twins", 
etc., are cases in point. Here we would employ the regu- 
lar narrative outline and we cannot do better than consult 
the chapter dealing with that form of plan if we want 
guidance for writing such a circular letter. 

In circular letters, as well as in letters to newspapers, 


we should try to forget, after we have complied with the 
letter form, that we are writing a letter. Such letters are 
really compositions with just sufficient of the letter flavor 
about them to justify our putting them into an envelope. 

Some of the greatest and most beneficial reforms the 
world has ever known have been brought about by effective 
letters written to the editors of newspapers and published 
by them. It is wise that we should strive to be able to 
write such letters. Nowhere is it more important that we 
look carefully to the form and expression than here, for 
our letters will be thrown into the waste-basket unless they 
are properly and convincingly written. The date in such 
letters is usually placed in the lower left-hand corner. The 
address may be placed at the top, upper right-hand corner, 
or underneath the signature. If a fictitious name be used, 
then the real name and address should be placed in paren- 
thesis underneath it. The salutation usually consists 
simply of : — 

"To the Editor of The Times:'' or "Mr. Editor:" 
The form then, graphically represented, is as follows : — 
To the Editor of The World: 



Conclusion ] 

Respectfully jrours, 

(James Thompson, 
138 Broadway, 
Jan. 18, 1913. New York City). 


It is customary in a newspaper letter to preface it with 
a request for permission to bring some matter to public 
attention through the columns of the paper to which the 
letter is written. Then the letter is commenced immedi- 
ately, and concluded quite the same as an ordinary letter, 
often with a participial complimentary closing. The fol- 
lowing skeleton illustrates this conventional type of 
letter : — 

1. Prefatory sentence paragraph: 

''May I call attention through the valuable coltmins of 
THE TRIBUNE to the condition of the streets in the 
neighborhood of Washington Square?" 

2. The letter proper, planned and paragraphed beforehand; 

3. The conclusion: 

"Trusting that you will give so serious a matter the 
effective attention that has so often in the past bene- 
fited the community, I am 

Respectfully yours, 

In many cases, however, letters are written to editors 
.in reply to editorials or to other letters that have recently 
appeared. In such cases of course the preface and the con- 
clusion will differ somewhat from the above. At the out- 
set the editorial or letter that we wish to comment upon 
should be mentioned. The conclusion need have only such 
characteristics as those that are commonly attached to a 
composition or other piece of writing, or we may, if we are 
in agreement with the article to which we are respond- 
ing, congratulate the writer; while, if we are in disagree- 
ment, we may express the hope that the points brought out 
in our letter will be the cause of a change of opinion about 
the matter concerned. 



I. Write letters for all the illustrative plans that 
have been given in this chapter. Be careful to follow the 
plan in each case. For the circular and newspaper letters 
select subjects in connection with your own school. 

IL Imagine yourself at boarding-school for the first 
time. Plan and write a letter home telling your parents 
about your arrival, your surroundings, your comrades, and 
your work. 

III. Plan and write a letter to one of your old boy 
friends telling him how you are spending your vacation. 

IV. Plan and write a note to your teacher, asking 
him to spend Saturday afternoon and evening with you. 

V. Plan and write a note to your Principal asking 
him to allow your literary club to use the chapel for a 
public meeting. 

VI. Plan and write a letter to a friend congratulat- 
ing him upon being elected president of his club. 

VII. Plan and write a letter to a friend who has 
just lost his mother. 

VIII. Plan and write a letter to Messrs. D. Appleton 
and Company, Publishers, at 35 West 32nd Street, New 
York City, ordering half a dozen books. Inclose the 
money; name the books; tell when, where, and how de- 
livery is to be made. 

IX. Plan and write a letter to R. H. Macy & Com- 
pany, asking to have a pair of gloves, which you are re- 
turning under separate cover, exchanged. Tell them ex- 
actly why you want to exchange the gloves and what you 
wish sent you in return. Assume that there may be a 
difference in price and provide for that difference in your 


X. Plan and write a letter to a theater ticket office, 
inclosing money, and asking for two tickets for a certain 
night in a certain part of the theater. 

XI. Plan and write a letter to the manager of some 
team in another school, making arrangements for a game 
with your own school team. Time, conditions, and place 
must be clearly provided for. 

Write the manager's reply to your letter. If further 
correspondence is necessary to complete the negotiation, 
produce it. 

XII. You are to debate on a subject connected with 
department store employees. Plan and write a letter to 
the manager of some store, asking him a number of ques- 
tions as to hours, wage, length of service, schooling, etc. 
of the employees. 

XIII. Plan and write an answer to a letter that you 
have received asking you : — 

1. Where you go to school, 

2. The number of students and teachers in the school, 

3. What you study, 

4. What you intend to make of yourself, 

5. How your present work is helping you to that end. 

XIV. Plan and write a letter to the White Star 
Line, 9 Broadway, New York City, inclosing a check 
for $25, and asking them to book you for passage to Eng- 

Designate : 

1. The ship on which you want to go, 

2. The date, 

3. The class, 

4. The location of the room, in a general way. 


Ask them to tell you 

1. When you shall reach England, 

2. What the balance of your passage will be, 

3. When that balance is due. 

Write the reply you receive from the White Star Line. 
XV. Plan and write answers to the following adver- 
tisements : — 

1. Wanted: Bright, active boy, not over fifteen, for general 
office work. Must be well recommended. 

Box 17, Herald, Uptown. 

2. For sale, cheap, good upright piano of standard make; 
used for one year. $500. new; will sell for $200. 

Debtor, Times, Downtown. 

3. Situation wanted by expert book-keeper. Excellent train- 
ing and experience. Expert accountant. 

X, Tribune. 


A great school for boys! Trains for business, prepares for 
college, fits for life. Write for circulars and information to 

S. E. Everett, Secretary, 

Excelsior School Building, 
15 Bond Street. 
Phila., Penna. 

5. Wanted: High school graduate as assistant secretary to 
manager of a large manufacturing concern. Must be able 

to approach people and furnish the best of references. An- 
swer in own handwriting. 

Box 20, Telegram, Central 

(These should be supplemented by a large selection 
of "ads" from the daily paper, and also by '*ads" com- 
posed by students and exchanged with one another.) 


XVI. Plan and write an application for a position in 
a house which, so far as you know, has not advertised for 
any one, but with which you would like to be associated. 
State age, training, ambitions, willingness to start at 
bottom, and the desire to be kept in mind by the firm in 
case they do not need any one at the present time. 

XVII. Plan and write a circular letter for the public, 
advertising some article about which you have full knowl- 
edge, — such as a camera, a book, a certain kind of foot- 
ball, baseball, or hockey stick. Make your letter as ap- 
pealing as you possibly can. 

XVIII. Imagine that the snow has not been removed 
from your street for weeks and that it is now dirty and 
breeding disease. Plan and write a strong letter to some 
newspaper about the condition. 

XIX. Plan and write a long letter to a friend telling 
him what you have learned from this chapter about letter- 
writing and recommending that he study it also. 

XX. Write the letters suggested by the following 
plans. Add to the plans or improve them in any way that 
you can : — 

1. A letter to your sister telling her 

a. when you shall arrive, 

b. that you would like her to meet you, 
c that a friend is coming with you, 

d. how long you can stay. 

2. A letter to your friend Carl 

a. asking him to visit you on Saturday, 

b. telling him to bring his skates, 

c. inviting him to stay to dinner, 

d. warning him to make arrangements to return home 


3. A letter to your friend Bob asking him 

a. how he likes his new school, 


b. how one must proceed to gain admission, 

c. whether the work is difficult, 

d. how long it takes to graduate. 

4. A letter to the Mayor of your city asking him to address 
your club. Tell him definitely 

a. the time,. 

b. the place, 

c. the kind of club, 

d. the length of speech desired, 

e. the subject you would like him to talk about. 

5. A letter to the Hotel Rustic, Lake George, N. Y., asking 

a. the rate per week, 

b. for circular of sports, 

c. for best way to reach the place. 

6. A letter to Messrs. A. G. Spalding and Bros., 25 West 42nd 
Street, New York City, asking for 

a. circular of various stock, 

b. terms on foot-ball suits and sweaters for your school 

team (state full conditions). 



We are primarily concerned in this little volume with 
learning how to plan our work, with studying how to pre- 
pare to write and speak. But it is well perhaps that we 
review here in the briefest possible way a few of the fun- 
damentals of expression, for planning in composition work 
always implies of course subsequent writing or speaking. 
Perhaps we think that we know all about these things, they 
constitute such a "straight-ahead" sort of business; and 
perhaps we shall be very much bored with what follows 
in the present chapter. Moreover, we have just been told 
time and time again that, if we plan well, our written or 
oral composition will be more than two-thirds done, that 
it will be made very easy for us. This is true beyond all 
doubt.. Yet the plan does not constitute the whole com- 
position, — there is still a third, and a very important third, 
of the work to be done, and we must therefore patiently 
bear in mind certain principles and details pertaining to 
our written and oral expression, if we would become good 
writers and able talkers. Everything that is said in this 
chapter pertains to oral as well as to written composition, 
though we have heard of much of it only in connection 
with written work. In the next chapter we shall deal ex- 
clusively with oral expression, with those principles of 
expression that apply chiefly, if not only, to speech. 

Sometimes we use the words title and subject in con- 



nection with composition as if they mean the same thing. 
This is a mistake and we should clearly differentiate between 
them. The title is really the label which we use for our 
subject. It corresponds to a family name in those stories 
like "Pilgrim's Progress" and "The Vicar of Wakefield" 
in which a character's name is oftentimes the name of 
his leading characteristic, or to the nickname which we 
apply to our friends, often so appropriately, such as "Easy", 
"Bunny", etc. These are handy names or titles, and they 
are at ,the same time short definitions of the people they 
stand for. They are, in short, labels or titles for a siibject 
in each case. But such labels should always have some- 
thing about them to define the thing they stand for. Some 
of our popular modern advertisements illustrate pretty 
clearly what titles should and should not be. Of course 
we come to know in a little time what a certain clever 
trade-mark or picture, or whatever it may be, represents or 
advertises after we have been educated to it. But in many 
cases the label Avas invented solely for the purpose of 
catching notice, and not at all with the intention of de- 
fining or describing the article for which it is used. In 
like manner we are often tempted, doubtless, to select fan- 
ciful and figurative titles for our compositions. If we 
write about bread we like to entitle our work "The Staff 
of Life"; if about a great bridge, we like to use for our 
title "A Wonderful Span", etc. But it is a good deal bet- 
ter to avoid such titles as these, at any rate while we are 
in our apprenticeship. After we have become proficient 
in writing we may perhaps justifiably head our work with 
such titles as "The Jungle", "The Aftermath", "The Bub- 
ble", etc. For the present, if we are writing a character 
sketch of James Blank, we shall do well to use "James 
Blank" as our title. If we are writing an account of our 


coasting trip, we had better call our composition "Our 
Coasting Trip". So also with such subjects as "The 
House in Which I Live", "My Room", "A Comfortable 
Window Seat", "My Dog Prince", etc. All of these are 
subjects about which we can write, the titles for which can- 
not be better stated than they are. But let us always re- 
member the hints given in our study of Purpose and Point 
of View ; namely, that the name or label or title we give to 
our subject-matter should be decided for us by the phase or 
part of that subject which we choose to accent in our com- 
position. Therefore, if in our character sketch of James 
Blank we wish to give prominence to his generosity, we 
can choose a more apt title. We can then use for the title 
of our composition, "James Blank, Philanthropist", per- 
haps, or "A Master in Generosity". If in our coasting trip 
we narrowly escaped serious injury and wish to accent this 
phase of the trip in the composition, then we had better 
take "A Narrow Escape" for our title. In like manner 
we may revise the other subjects suggested. "The House 
in Which I Live" might, under particular treatment, more 
appropriately be called "Home"; "My Room" might very 
properly become "My Den"; "A Comfortable Window 
Seat" might mean a great deal more for our composition if 
changed to "My Cosy Corner"; "My Dog Prince" might 
deserve the title, "A Modest Hero"; etc. Of course we 
are justified in making our titles interesting and attractive 
and taking, without ever making them sensational or con- 
ventional or commonplace; and they should also always 
represent clearly and truthfully just what our composition 
is about. In the selection of a subject to write upon we 
must likewise be guided l)y limitations of knowledge, time 
and space. Subjects that lend themselves naturally to wide 
and varied division should not be chosen, as they will lead 


us too far and too broadly afield. Rather should we select 
a single one of the partitions and make a special develop- 
ment of that. 

We know thoroughly well that in form our composition 
work in each and every department should be neat and tidy. 
We should always be unwilling to submit any but our best 
writing and our best arrangement of material. This ap- 
plies to all of our work, to be sure, but with especial em- 
phasis to our work in composition. Here we are preparing 
something which intimately represents us for somebody else 
to read and scrutinize. We must be careful therefore to 
represent ourselves at our very best. We cannot expect 
anybody to read or appreciate what we have written unless 
it be neat and appetizing in appearance. The plans that 
have been drawn up in this book are tidily arranged, with 
even margins and consistent tabulation. Let us make it a 
point to have our compositions follow our plans rigidly even 
in this; though we may think we have done our full duty 
when we have followed with absolute accuracy the points 
we have set down in our plan. We should leave a generous 
margin in ali the written work that we do. The "margin- 
ing habit'* is a companion in importance of the habit of 
proper capitalization, of accurate punctuation, and of cor- 
rect spelling. The interior margins, such as those for para- 
graphs and quotations and for the heading and closing in 
letters, should be observed with accuracy. None of us can 
afford to be reproached about the appearance or form of our 
compositions, if for no other reason, because the task of 
making them comply with good form is such an easy one. 

In these days of cheap books, when every one of us can 
own a pocket dictionary for the small sum of five or ten 
cents, there would seem to be no excuse whatever for bad 
spelling. Yet we know that there is a, great deal of it. 


We are probably conscious of a great deal of it in our- 
selves even though we know full well that there is nothing 
that so condemns us in the realm of writing as misspelling. 
Spelling rules will help us to some degree in this matter. 
But the greatest help in this, as in all things else, must be 
gained from our own exertion and initiative. We must 
enslave ourselves for a few years, if need be, to the pocket 
dictionary, which we can never afford to be without, even 
though we be fair spellers. The "dictionary habit" is the 
only cure-all for bad spelling and if we are bad spellers we 
must therefore acquire the habit. We are usually warned 
by a hesitancy, however brief, whenever we are about to 
write a word of the spelling of which we are uncertain. It 
is at this instant of hesitancy that we must put down the 
pen and take up the dictionary. Most of us do not do this. 
We go on writing the word, in spite of the instinctive warn- 
ing we have been given, and "trust to luck". This is a 
very bad procedure, for usually we shall find luck against 
us in the matter of spelling. Our pocket dictionaries must 
also be used for the study of syllabication. It is a mark 
of ignorance or slovenliness, or both, to divide a word 
wrongly at the end of a line, and particularly to divide a 
monosyllabic or word of one syllable. We may have been 
guilty of such things, as: 



and if so we have erred grossly. But we 
may trust the new pocket dictionary to save us from further 
embarrassment in this line. 

Probably there is no more pitiable error, usually the re- 
sult of carelessness, than the failure to close our sentences 


properly, — the failure to conclude them when they should 
be concluded, to place a period at the end of the expression 
of a complete thought. We can as a rule avoid this error 
if we will just take the time to re-read aloud what we have 
written. If it sounds complete we may be pretty sure that 
a period should be placed after it; if not, then we must 
of course complete it. Our trouble in this direction usually 
occurs in the writing of complex sentences with long, de- 
pendent clauses in them. But here too we will have a nat- 
ural, instinctive hesitancy when we are in the midst of our 
sentence, and that hesitancy is an eloquent appeal for us to 
read the sentence aloud from the beginning. Then we shall 
probably save ourselves frorn error. 

''When I awoke this morning and saw the sun shining in at 
my window" 

Shall we place a period after "window"? Let us read the 
clause aloud and listen as we read. If we drop our voices 
after "window", then we shall probably be right in putting 
the period there ; if not, then we must complete the thought. 
Not one in fifty but would keep the voice sustained at that 

"When I awoke this morning and saw the sun shining in at 
my window, I thought I should be late for school." 

Now, if we read it, we shall find that it sounds complete; 
we let the voice fall at the end, and we place a period there. 
It is better for us at first to write short, simple sentences 
and gradually cultivate the habit of writing the longer, more 
involved ones. The study of elementary grammar, with the 
analysis of sentences of all kinds, is one of the greatest 
helps to the writing of complete and correct sentences, much 
modern opinion to the contrary notwithstanding. A series 


of short sentences will of course make our work read mo- 
notonously, and give it a disconnected, "choppy" effect, but 
we had better at the outset suffer this defect in style with 
correct sentence structure than write ungrammatically. 
Practice under a teacher's guidance and the study of analy- 
sis in grammar will soon enable lis to lengthen our sen- 
tences from short simple ones to long compound and com- 
plex ones. The ear, however, must be trusted more than 
we have been trusting it. The complete, correct sentence is 
natural. Most of us have a "sentence sense", but we do 
not give it opportunity to help us. 

What has just been said about the sentence applies in 
large measure to the paragraph. If we are careful in mak- 
ing our plan for a composition, we shall have very little 
difficulty in deciding when and where to commence and con- 
clude the paragraphs in our compositions. We can de- 
cide, as we have seen, just where these landmarks jn oqr 
work should occur. It is an excellent safeguard to deter- 
mine them beforehand and to indicate them with pencil in 
the plan, if need be. The chief thing to be noted here, 
after having studied the chapter on paragraph planning, is 
that we should avoid a series of very short paragraphs, or 
a series of very long ones. More will be said of this at 
the end of the present chapter, under the subject of Variety. 

We have studied something in the previous chapters 
about SEQUENCE. This, we found, is a very important 
principle in the development and arrangement of material 
for a composition. We studied about the natural order of 
arrangement, the chronological order, and of cases where 
such order might be set aside for a different sequence. 
There we were studying the sequence of ideas, the easy and 
natural unfolding of one idea from another. But we come 
here to study sequence in a slightly different sense. We 


employ it here chiefly in its application to words. If for 
instance we use a noun or a pronoun in one person to refer 
to some one, and in the same sentence or paragraph later use 
a noun or a pronoun of another person to refer to the same 
individual, we are violating the principle of sequence. To 
illustrate : — 

(i) "One doesn't usually do it that way, but if you do you 
should be very careful." 

(2) "When you enter the room, you see the lion's head the 
first thing, and it startles a fellow dreadfully." 

The italicized words in each of these examples are obvi- 
ously intended to refer to the same individual, but they are 
not sequential in person, as they should be. The sentences 
should read : — 

(i) "One doesn't usually do it that way, but if one does 
one should be very careful." ^ 


"You don't usually do it that way, but if you do you should 
be very careful." 

(2) "When you enter the room you see the lion's head the first 
thing and it startles you dreadfully." 


"When a fellow enters the room, he sees the lion's head the 
first thing and it startles him dreadfully." 

Now they have perfect sequence in person. This sequence 
is called the sequence of person. 

Another common violation of this principle of sequence 
occurs in the use of predicates. As a rule, the tense in 
which we start a bit of conversation or other expression 
is the tense which we should retain throughout. This is 
not always the case, of course. But if we take up a good 


book and read at random anywhere, we shall find that the 
same tense is retained uniformly, except perhaps where the 
author has introduced the words of another, in which case 
he has kept the tense of that other; or where he has 
wanted to hasten or slacken the pace of his story by chang- 
ing from the imperfect to the present tense, or vice versa, 
as the case may be. We may rest assured that nothing like 
this will be found : 

"John goes to school regularly but Bill played truant" 

"Goes" and "played'* are not in the same tense; they are 
not sequential, though obviously they are intended to be. 
Both predicates should be present tense or both should be 
imperfect. Such errors in sequence as a rule are no doubt 
the result of thoughtlessness, but we must train our ears 
and use our reason in our writing toward the avoidance of 
such an error as that here iUustrated. And at the same 
time we must not get the idea that we cannot have two or 
more than two tenses in a single sentence. Everything de- 
pends upon the sense or meaning of our sentences. 

My college professor told me that the air is composed of two 

Here the past "told" is perfectly correct in connection with 
"is", the present form, for the idea expressed about the air 
is true at present and at all times, whereas the professor 
did not impart this information at the present time but in 
the past. The sequence of tense is decided therefore by a 
little reasoning about the meaning of the sentence. Mis- 
takes in sequence are more likely to occur in long-sustained 
passages of writing than in short ones. In our haste to 
record our ideas we may sometimes forget that in a pre- 
ceding paragraph we used the present tense while we are 


using- the imperfect in the one we are engaged in writing. 
We may forget when we come to the end of a story that 
we started to tell it in the first person, whereas at the con- 
clusion we used the second or third. But such violations 
are easily corrected if they cannot always be avoided. 

There are three very old principles of Rhetoric which 
we must understand if we would make our writing all that 
it should be. They have been studied by us indirectly all 
along the way. We come now to study them directly. 
They are 




The initial letters — c tJ e — suggest to us that they may be 
the "cue" to much of our success in writing if we study 
them closely. They apply with equal force to the sentence, 
the paragraph, and the whole composition. 

By coherence is meant the harmonious co-hering or 
interrelating or dovetailing of the various ideas in our writ- 
ing, — ^be it sentence, paragraph or composition. The word 
has a use outside of its rhetorical significance and perhaps 
we can best negatively illustrate it there. If for instance a 
man gave a ball which was attended by royalty, by peas- 
ants, by sailors, by South Sea Islanders, by Chinese, and 
by others of different classes from diflFerent nations, the 
assemblage could not be said to be a coherent one. It 
would be most incoherent because the people would have 
too little in common to mingle harmoniously and agreeably 
one with another. In the sentence, therefore, "Thomas 
goes to school regularly and Mary makes good cake", we 
have something in English very similar to this ball in 



society. There are two ideas in the statement, totally un- 
related, combined in one sentence. We say that the sen- 
tence lacks coherence, as a consequence of this. We must 
of course make two sentences of it, one for each idea, or 
change the wording to bring out the contrast. Now, in 
a larger way the same kind of error may occur in a para- 
graph and in a composition. We must be careful that 
every idea we give expression to in company with other 
ideas bears some consistent relation to those other ideas, and 
has therefore a justifiable place in our work as a whole. 
Our successive sentences must lead from those gone before 
to those following. This, and only this, will give our com- 
pleted writing Coherence. 

But not only should our ideas as expanded in a piece of 
writing have consistent and harmonious interrelation one 
with another, they should all with equal certainty bear 
pointedly upon the subject on which we are writing. Every 
word in a sentence, every sentence in a paragraph, every 
paragraph in a composition, should pertain directly, insis- 
tently, to the subject under discussion. Of course some 
words and sentences and paragraphs must be more impor- 
tant than others, but all of them must be indispensable to 
the development of the idea, if not to its major points, to 
its minor ones. There must be no superfluous word, sen- 
tence, or paragraph. When we have thus stripped our 
work of every unnecessary element in it, we have procured 
for it oneness or Unity. The principle of unity is closely 
related to that* of Coherence. Coherence deals with the re- 
lations among words, sentences, and paragraphs ; unity deals 
with the relation of words, sentences and paragraphs to 
the subject of the composition. Probably, if one of these 
qualities is lacking from the composition, the other will be 
also, for sentences that are related to the same subject must 


be related to each other. It is conceivable however to have 
a series of sentences all relating to one subject, but ar- 
rangied haphazardly, without sequence. The problem of co- 
herence and unity then is to arrange them so that they will 
most smoothly relate to each other and at the same time 
form a complete whole in relation to the subject when ar- 
ranged. In our common parlance unity means "sticking 
to the subject". We may illustrate the two qualities by the 
arranging of a number of irregularly cut blocks, so that, 
when the arrangement is complete, the figure represents an 
animal,-:^let us say, a horse. The many blocks have been 
coherently related to each other — dovetailed — and the com- 
pleted whole forms one figure, or a unity.. The group of 
blocks was a unity ♦without any correct coherence before 
they were arranged. So our selected material for a com- 
position forms a unity. We bring coherence to bear upon 
it and we have a complete and expressive unity. The two 
go hand in hand. We cannot separate them, yet they have 
distinct meanings and offices. 

By EMPHASIS we mean the placing of material in our 
composition, oral or written, where it will be most effec- 
tive, most emphatic. The emphatic places in sentences, para- 
graphs, or compositions are at the beginning and the end. 
The conclusion of a piece of work however is a more em- 
phatic place than the beginning, for here it is important to . 
leave an impression, a conviction perhaps, upon our audi- 
ence; here we want to build up and emphasize our state- 
ment or our argument with great force. But we have ^ 
heard also that first impressions are lasting ones. At the 
beginning of our work, then, we should state forcefully 
and strikingly what our purpose is to be and what the im- 
portance of our subject is. At the end we must show that 
we have proved that importance. These two directions 


apply only most generally of course. Individual subjects 
will suggest by their very nature in most cases what should 
be emphasized at first, and what last. 

Emphasis is procured by building up one statement after 
another, each more forceful, more tense, more impressive 
than the one preceding it, until we have reached the limit 
of our power in the building-up process. Such emphasis 
at the end of a composition or a speech is sometimes called 
Qimax. The various types of rhetorical sentences — ^loose, 
periodic, and parallel, — ^which will be discussed a little fur- 
ther on under the subject of Variety, can be used to excel- 
lent advantage in procuring emphasis, especially the periodic 
and parallel types. Repetition is also a method very often 
used for procuring emphasis. We must be careful however 
to distinguish between rhetorical emphasis and the more 
or less awkward repetition which results from the careless 
use of the same word too frequently, because of a too nar- 
row vocabulary, and which always grates upon a reader's 
or a listener's nerves. If we will refer back to the para- 
graph from Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities (page 79), 
we shall find in that an excellent example of rhetorical repe- 
tition used for the purpose of emphasis. 

The principle of variety is one of the most impor- 
tant, if not the most important, with which we have to 
deal when we come to write or speak. It has to do with 
the form of our expression, rather than with the content 
and arrangement of material, as have coherence, unity, and 
emphasis. Our purpose in cultivating variety, in trying 
to acquire a varied form of expression for our. thoughts, is 
to rid our work, written and oral, of all possible monotony. 
We cannot of course blame any one for refusing to read the 
work of a monotonous writer or to listen to a monotonous 
speaker. We ourselves ignore both and we must therefore 


see to it that we are neither of them. There are so many 
resources for variety, that it is surprising that any one is 
ever monotonous in his expression. Yet in spite of all the 
various means of procuring this principle for our work, we 
are frequently confronted with people who have a great deal 
of valuable information to impart, but who do it in such a 
dry-as-dust, monotonous way, that it is impossible to give 
them our attention. Let us inquire at some length into the 
means of variety in expression. 

We may study words from our dictionaries, and thus 
increase our vocabulary. This will obviate the necessity of 
monotonous repetition of the same word. We must have 
so many words at our command that it shall rarely if ever 
be necessary for us to use the same word twice in close 
succession. We must be on intimate terms with such 
words as, however, therefore, although, consequently, more- 
over, notwithstanding, nevertheless, albeit, furthermore, 
and the many others of their kind. These words all have 
a very important significance in establishing close and subtle 
relations between our thoughts and we cannot afford to 
ignore them. Too often we are inclined to consider such 
words as meaningless, but they are not. On the contrary 
they have the power of giving shades of meaning which we 
cannot indicate in our work unless we use them. 

In addition to cultivating a wide variety in the choice 
and use of our words, we can furthermore cultivate a wide 
range of variety in our sentences. Perhaps the opportuni- 
ties for variety are greater here than anywhere else. We 
must not use the same words at the beginning of successive 
sentences, unless we do so for purposes of emphasis. If 
we are writing a composition about James Blank, we may 
carelessly commence many sentences with "he''. This will 
of course make very monotonous reading. We should 


vary the words with which we commence sentences. Some- 
times we may commence with the subject, sometimes not.. 
It will often be possible for us to start with a dependent 
clause, or with al)hrase, or with a conjunction (it is quite 
proper to open a sentence with "and" or "but"), or with 
an adverb or adjective. All of these sentence beginnings, 
and others that will occur to us as we write, should be 
used alternately or at intervals. We should also vary 
the length of our sentences. Some should be long; some, 
short. But the long ones should not of course all be to- 
gether. They should be interspersed ^mong the short 
ones and those of average length. Our thoughts vary in 
length, from the very long and very involved to the very 
short. Naturally, therefore, the expression of our thoughts 
must vary accordingly. Again, we may secure variety in 
our sentences by the form of expression we use. The dec- 
larative sentence is the most common type and in ordinary 
writing and speaking we shall probably use it most. But 
we should occasionally vary our form of expression by in- 
troducing interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sen- 
tences. We have a still further means of securing variety 
in sentence structure by alternating to some degree the 
grammatical types that we use, — ^simple, compound, and 
complex. The primers that we studied when we were chil- 
dren seem laughable to us now, because of their short, 
simple, monotonous, declarative sentences. Our writing 
will appear almost equally ludicrous unless we are careful 
to intermingle all these different forms in it. Sentences 
are also further classed, rhetorically, into the loose sentence, 
or the sentence that can be brought to a close at some place 
or places before the last word of the sentence is reached; 
the periodic sentence, or the sentence whose meaning is not 
perfectly complete until the last word is reached; and the 


parallel or balanced sentence, in which two or more ideas in 
words, phrases, or clauses, are set over against each other 
or balanced, as it were. These three types may be illus- 
trated as follows : — 

Loose: John came home from school hungry and tired, || and 

asked his mother for something to eat. 
Loose: I do not like Scott's books || because they are too 

detailed and extended. 
Periodic: When John returned from school, hungry and tired, 

he asked his mother for something to eat. 
Periodic: Whatever he may do, I am determined that I will 

never yield. 
Parallel: Train up a child in the way he should go, || and 

when he is old he will not depart from it. 
Parallel: In the summer we live in the country: || in the 

winter we remain in the city. 

We should study these sentences carefully in connection with 
the definitions given above and ascertain for ourselves 
whether they are true illustrations. We see that here again 
we have the possibility of varying our sentence structure 
in still another way. Moreover, there is almost infinite 
opportunity for variety in our sentence expression by the 
use of combinations which these various sentence types offer. 
We may, for instance, sometimes write simple-periodic sen- 
tences ; sometimes, declarative-parallel sentences ; sometimes, 
complex-interrogative-loose sentences; and so on. If it 
be too much to say that there is no end to these combina- 
tions, it is not too much to say that there is such possibility 
of varied combination in our sentence forms alone as to 
make monotony of expression little short of illiterate, and 
fit to be classed with bad spelling and ungrammatical sen- 
tence construction. 

In the length and form of our paragraphs we may also 


cultivate the principle of variety. As in sentences, so in 
paragraphs, the length should be varied. Long, short, and 
medium-sized paragraphs should be intermingled. In form 
our paragraphs should not always open with the topic sen- 
tence. Sometimes it should stand first ; sometimes it should 
be the second, the third, or the fourth sentence in the para- 
graph. We should sometimes have only a summary sen- 
tence; sometimes both topic and summary sentences, par- 
ticularly in cases where emphasis is sought. Again, we 
should use as many as possible of the various methods of 
paragraph development in a single composition. It would 
be rather dull reading, if, in a composition of ten para- 
graphs, all of them were developed by the same method; 
or if all of them began with the same word, or with the 
same kind of construction. We have seen also that the 
various methods of paragraph development, like the various 
forms of sentences, may be combined, and we should make 
wide use of this privilege in writing our compositions. 

Enough has now been said to show that this very im- 
portant principle of variety is easily attainable: that, at 
least, we have almost unlimited means by which we may 
vary our expression. Let us cultivate them all from time 
to time and thus make our writing as readable and our 
speaking as "bearable" as possible. The various ways of 
procuring variety which we have just been discussing are 
here summarized in a bracket plan : 



f r Avoidance of repetition 

In words \ Use of pocket dictionaiy 

[ Use of such words as, therefore, however, etc. 


In sen- 

Beginnings of sentences 

f with different words 
with words other than sab- 

with clauses 
with phrases 
with conjunctions 

Length of sentences 



Expression of sentences^ 



Grammatical sentences compound 

^ complex 

Rhetorical sentences 


' loose 
' periodic 
^ parallel 

complex - imperative - peri- 
Combination sentences -J simple-declarative-loose 

compound- interrogative- 
L parallel, etc. 

Length of paragraphs 

Position of topic or 
summary sentence 



In para- 

Form of paragraphs 

Combination para- 

f first 
near middle 


r intermixture of any of the 
I various forms designated 
{ by TOPIC 



I. Make a complete study plan of this chapter. 
(The running plans in the table of contents are much too 
brief to be used as valuable study plans. Do not therefore 
be guided by them.) 

II. Test some of your own compositions for the 
various principles discussed in this chapter, and correct 

III. Every conscientious student is his own best 
spelling book. Make a list of words you have misspelled in 
your compositions. Study how they should be divided into 
syllables. Write them out in a book kept for the purpose 
and accent the correction by some means; as sepArate — 
o-cca^ion — beneficed— dissatisfy — disaj^j^eap — 

2 1 I (dis+satis) i 2 

or in some other way. 

IV. Select some paragraph or chapter from a novel 
you have read in class. Test its variety (words, sentence 
structure, etc.), its coherence, its unity, its emphasis, and 
its sequence. After you have made a careful study of it, 
plan and write a paragraph summarizing that study. 

V. Compose sentences of the following combina- 
tions : — 

1. Loose-complex-interrogative. 

2. Periodic-imperative-simple. 

3. Parallel-compound-exclamatory. 

4. Declarative-loose-compound commencing with a prepo- 

5. Interrogative-periodic-compound, commencing with a 



















VI. Convert the following subjects into appropriate 
titles with proper capitalization, — ^the snow-covered moun- 
tain, the limited express, my new ambition, the pedlar, 
Harry's carelessness, ice, recitations, a strange fellow, early 
mornings, why Bob failed. 

VII. What mistake are you likely to make in spelling 
each of the following words? Find a rule in a spelling 
book for each one ; or, better, discover a rule of your own 
for helping you to spell them correctly. If possible, group 
them according to rule or device. 










VIII. The sentences in the following paragraphs have 
been disarranged. Study them carefully to find the proper 
sequence ; then rewrite the paragraphs. 


At the same time the walk of elms, with the croaking of the 
ravens, which from time to time are heard from the tops of them, 
looks exceedingly solemn and venerable. I was taking a walk in 
this place last night, between the hours of nine and ten, and 
could not but fancy it one of the most proper scenes in the world 
for a ghost to appear in. The place was formerly a church-yard, 
and has still several marks in it of graves and burying-places. 
The ruins of the abbey are scattered up and down on every 
side, and half covered with ivy and elder bushes, the harbors of 
several solitary birds which seldom make their appearance till 
the dusk of the evening. There is such an echo among the old 
ruins and vaults that if you stamp but a little louder than ordi- 
nary you hear the sound repeated. These objects naturally raise 


seriousness and attention ; and when night heightens the awfulness 
of the place, and pours out her supernumerary horrors upon every- 
thing in it, I do not at all wonder that weak minds fill it with 
specters and apparitions. 


With this purpose, he led his army down into a plain near 
Stirling, called the Park, near which, and beneath it, the Eng- 
lish army must needs pass through a boggy country, broken with 
watercourses, while the Scots occupied hard, dry ground. They 
were- filled with light brushwood, and the turf was laid on the 
top, so that it appeared a plain field, while in reality it was all 
full of these pits, as a honeycomb is of holes. He then caused all 
the ground upon the front of his line of battle, where cavalry 
were likely to act, to be dug full of holes, about as deep as a 
man's knee. He also, it is said, caused steel pikes, called cal- 
throps, to be scattered up and down in the plain, where the Eng- 
lish cavalry were most likely to advance, trusting in that manner 
to lame and destroy their horses. Both these advantages he re- 
solved to provide against. He knew the superiority of the 
English, both in their heavy-armed cavalry, which were much 
better mounted and armed than that of the Scots, and in their 
archers, who were better trained than any others in the world. 
The king, on his part, studied how he might supply, by address 
and stratagem, what he wanted in numbers and strength. 

IX. Rewrite the following sentences correctly; giv- 
ing reason for the change in each case : — 

1. London is said to have been a great city. 

2. When I reached home yesterday my mother asks me where 
I was. 

3. As one passes the house they can see a small garden in the 

4. When one reads his works you are impressed with his large 

5. As one walks to the station they always see a crowd. 

6. He reprimanded the pupil and then asks him to bring a note 
from his parents. 


7. As you enter John's room one sees a picture of his father 
hanging over the piano. 

8. Playing ball gives one the exercise that they desire. 

9. The colonists were obstinate but it was right. 

10. Henry comes into the room and said I was wanted outside. 

11. We received a telegram saying that he was coming to-day. 

12. We were told that Berlin was the capital of Germany. 

13. As he walked into the room one could hear the buzz of many 

14. As soon as one enters the room he sees himself in the mirror. 

15. He said that the air we breathe was full of impurities. 

X. To each of the following statements add a clause 
commencing with hence, therefore, consequently, however, 
nevertheless, furthermore, or some other similar word : 

1. Robert came home from school ill 

2. There were only three present at the meeting 

3. That was the worst thing he could have said 

4. His failure disappointed him of course 

5. When I returned he was still waiting 

6. At last he came 

7. They were in a sad dilemma 

8. He still hopes to pass 

9. There they were waving to us from the shore 

10. After it is all over you will be extremely happy 



We must again bear in mind that practically everything 
that was said in Chapter IX about the written composition 
applies with equal force to the oral composition. We must 
get the idea out of our heads, that written language and 
oral language are separate and independent from one an- 
other. They are one and the same thing, being different 
only in form. We seem to take oral expression for granted. 
It seems to be impossible for us, careless as we sometimes 
are in our written work, to be even as careful in our oral 
discourse. The paper, the pen, the ink seem to add a bit 
of formidable glamor, bidding us "take care", for all of us 
are a little more careful (most of us a great deal more so) 
about our writing than about our speaking. Now, it is trite 
to say that we should always speak clearly and correctly; 
that we should pronounce our words accurately; that we 
should cultivate a good voice; and all the rest of it. We 
have heard it so many times before. But the mere telling 
will in nowise help us. We must have the slovenliness and 
the carelessness of our common speech brought home to us, 
if possible, in such a way as to embarrass us perhaps, before 
some of- us shall be able to help ourselves out of the slough 
of illiteracy. Just as in writing we should aim at perfec- 
tion in the smallest, most obvious details, so in speaking we 
should endeavor to speak even the simplest word we have 




to speak in such a/way as not only to convey our meaning, 
but to give pleasure to those who hear it as well. 

In this chapter, however, we are to study chiefly about 
the oral speech, the speech that we are called upon to deliver 
before our class, or before our school, or in the literary club 
of which of course we are all members. It is a strange and 
unfortunate thing that there is nothing most of us dislike 
more than making a speech before others for the sake of 
training, when, at the same time, there is nothing that is 
calculated to do us more good or for which we shall be 
more heartily thankful when we grow older. To be able 
to stand upon our feet, face men, and tell them clearly and 
forcibly of some experience, or what we think, or what 
our convictions are about some live topic, is the most valu- 
able power we can have, and we should strive here and now 
to attain it; we should eagerly take hold of every oppor- 
tunity that presents itself for the cultivation of such power. 

We are sometimes deterred from making the most of 
our opportunities in this line because of shyness and ner- 
vousness, forgetting that these qualities are to be overcome, 
and not to overcome us; that Nature has given us the 
strength to subdue them and expects us to do it ; and that in 
nine cases out of ten the intensely shy and nervous person 
makes the best speaker after self-control has been acquired. 
The very greatest actors and orators, it is well known, were 
obliged to fight against nervousness persistently and contin- 
uously oftentimes for years, before they attained their suc- 
cess. But they never gave up the fight, and when they 
finally won, we know that their victory, their success, was 
proportionately brilliant as their struggle had been difficult. 
Even after their success was assured, they tell us that they 
were always nervous for a little while at the beginning of 
every public appearance. Indeed, a noted actor once told 


a body of students that he would be very scared if he were 
not nervous when he first went on the stage to play a great 
role, even though he had played it hundreds of times. It 
is little short of cowardly to be afraid of nervousness. The 
normally healthy student, instead of being afraid, should 
welcome it, for it gives him an opportunity to test himself, 
and to make mind prevail over matter. 

Once on our feet before an audience we can best for- 
get all about ourselves and all nervousness therefore, even 
forget our audience, by concentrating upon the subject we 
are going to talk about. We shall thus find ourselves mas- 
ters of the "oral situation" by losing or giving ourselves 
up to the matter we have to discuss. This can never be 
done unless we are keenly interested in our subject and of 
course we should not attempt to talk on subjects in which 
we have no interest. But this concentration, this ignoring 
of everything and everybody except the thing we are going 
to talk about, is the secret of success at the beginning of 
public speaking. Ministers often tell us that it is much 
easier to pray than it is to speak, because when they pray 
they close their eyes and retire within themselves to what 
they have to say, as it were. They are not disconcerted 
by seeing people. And we know how much easier it is 
to read before a class than it is to speak, because we have 
the book before us to concentrate upon. Well, we must 
likewise cultivate the habit of concentrating upon the sub- 
ject matter of our speech, though it is not in a book before 
us, but in our heads, and though it is, therefore, more dif- 
ficult to "see." But, as we have intimated, difficulties 
should be the keenest appetizers. 

Another aid to the overcoming of nervousness is cor- 
rect breathing. We are apt to use only the upper part of 
our, lungs for breathing unless we pay careful heed to it. 


Such a natural physical function as breathing, we think, 
perhaps, ought to take care of itself. And so it would if 
we were altogether natural creatures. But we are not ; the 
rush and tear of our modem life makes us very artificial 
and. very nervous, and this nervousness makes for short, 
shallow breathing. Instead of taking deep, long breaths, 
we breathe in flutters. This is never conducive to poise 
and self-control. We have in our bodies, beneath our lung 
cavities, a sort of divisional organ called the diaphragm. 
This acts as a bellows or regulator for our breathing, if we 
permit it so to act. When we take a deep, long breath, this 
presses downward and outward; when we exhale, it moves 
in the opposite directions. But when we breathe in our up- 
per lung capacity only, this organ is not called into play at 
all ; there is no forcing power in that part of our bodies, and 
consequently no air expulsion and refreshment in the lower 
parts of our lungs. Diaphragmatic breathing, therefore, 
must be insisted upon, not only to help us in overcoming our 
nervousness, and to give us poise and self-control, but also 
to force impure air out of our lungs and to supply the whole 
of our lung area with pure air and renewed power. We 
should take daily exercise in breathing, — long, deep, quiet 
breathing in pure fresh air, until we can trust ourselves to 
breathe properly without being conscious of it. 

Correct breathing will also improve the voice. The 
slight, husky, nasal, uncontrollable voice of the fluttering 
breather will be changed into a deep, resonant, manageable 
one by gaining mastery over the breathing. Nature really 
gave us all good voices, but we have neglected this, as we 
have so many other of her gifts. Not only do we smother 
the voice by our improper breathing, but we do not open 
our mouths when we talk ; we speak with our teeth together ; 
we do not give the voice a chance to do its best for us. Of 


course all of this should be corrected. We should not at- 
tempt to speak until we have taken a good long inhalation 
of air. Then we should allow our voices to play over the 
exhalation, exhaling very slowly and holding reserve power 
in our lungs as long as possible. Speaking when the lungs 
are only partially filled or nearly empty not only gives poor 
voice but exhausts us physically. And that nasality, for 
which we Americans are so justly condemned, can be over- 
come only by careful management of the breathing and 
proper opening of the mouth. Our vocal cords are useless 
as sound creators. They are vocal only because "of the air 
passing through them and setting up vibrations. 

There are questions of form for us to consider when 
we are delivering an oral composition before an audience of 
classmates or elsewhere. By this we mean that we should 
always carry ourselves with ease and dignity. A slovenly 
carriage ever implies that we are slovenly in breathing, in 
thinking, in voice, in pronunciation, — in everything. If 
we drag our feet, if we constantly have our hands in our 
pockets, if we stand on one foot and allow one shoulder to 
droop accordingly, if we become stooped, — if we do' any 
one of these things we shall be somewhat justified in being 
very nervous on appearing before an audience. Our pres- 
ence will certainly not be prepossessing. We must of course 
stand erect, carry our heads high, step with vim, and be 
happy that we have hands for people to see and for us to 
use in helping to express ourselves. 

Gesture merely for the sake of gesture is always ridicu- 
lous. But gestures that are spontaneous, that are made as 
a result of feeling rather than as a result of imitation or 
for the purpose of show, are the most impressive and valu- 
able aids in assisting us to accent our points. The trouble 
is, we do not ^Uow gestures "to come'' oftentimes when we 


do feel the impulse for them. We hold ourselves tense, 
even though our hands do want to go, and tell us so un- 
mistakably. But when we are talking to our fellows, we 
practice no such suppression. Then we gesture freely, nat- 
urally, and therefore gracefully. In spite of all the so-called 
rules there are no rules for holding or using the hands and 
fingers. We shall need none, if we will allow them to use 
themselves whenever they wish to do so. If we are inter- 
ested in our subject and have strong convictions and feelings 
about it, our thoughts as expressed by us in language will 
notify our hands when they want their help. Then we 
must not deny the assistance requested. No gesture is 
really awkward that springs spontaneously in accompani- 
ment to sincere thought and feeling. We should therefore 
use no force to suppress gestures. In whatever form they 
may insist upon manifesting themselves, we must let them 
come; for, sincerely made, they are often more eloquent 
than any words we may be able to summon. We have 
heard that actions speak louder than words. We must re- 
member at the same time also that gestures inserted with- 
out spontaneity will weaken the effect of the strongest 
words we may be able to speak. 

The pocket dictionary is an invaluable possession for 
the study of correct pronunciation and we must use it for 
this purpose quite as much perhaps as for the correction of 
wrong spelling. It is probable, however, that for the study 
of the laws of pronunciation, the values of vowels and con- 
sonants, and their modifications and inflections, we shall be 
obliged to go to the large dictionary in company with our 
instructors and take lessons in "How to Use the Diction- 
ary". We may think we know how to use it, but we may 
also be mistaken in this. It should be a matter of pride 
with us to finger the fewest possible number of leaves in 


turning to the word we want to find. We should always 
make use of the thumb index in looking up a word. We 
should study* in the introduction of any good unabridged 
dictionary the meaning of the various diacritical marks; 
such as, 

breve — macrcMi — dot— diaeresis — wave— cedilla — circumflex— etc.. 

for many of us perhaps do not know how to pronounce a 
word after we find it, owing to the fact that these marks, 
indicating quantity, accent, etc., are not understood by us. 
We should also familiarize ourselves in this introduction 

(i) with the classification of vowels, diphthongs, and digraphs, 

(2) with special consonant sounds, — c in such words as cell, 
city, cut, cot; g in such words as get, gain, gin, gist; 
ch in chorus, chord, chair, chore; th in thin, worth, then, 
smooth, that, those; ^ in so, this, wise, has; etc., etc.; (we 
must know why these letters or combinations are pro- 
nounced sometimes one way, sometimes. another), and 

(3) with accent (primary and secondary) especially in such 
words as, — abject, accent, address, compensate, condolence, 
construe, consummate, demonstrate, detail, discourse, en- 
velop, essay, illustrate, etc., etc. 

But even when we are fully aware of the correct pro- 
nunciation of a word we are often very careless and slov- 
enly in its use. We know but we do not do. Yet these 
two words are synonyms. The pupil who says he knows 
but cannot express himself simply does not know fully; 
for the expression of any knowledge should itself be a 
part of that knowledge. If we know fully and accurately 
how to pronounce our words, — and there is no reason why 
we should not, — we must pronounce them correctly. But 
failure to breathe properly, failure to open'lthe mouth, fail- 


ure to manipulate the tongue and adjust the lips, hurry and 
quickness in speaking, — all of these common faults mar the 
pronunciation as they impair the voice; and it would seem 
that even though we know that we are guilty of gross errors 
in pronunciation, enunciation, and articulation, we never- 
theless allow them to go uncorrected. We drop the "g" 
from words ending in "ing"; we say "daredn't" for 
"daren't"; we use the letter "r" at the ends of words 
when we should not use it, and omit it when we should 
use it; and so on. We know better in almost every case. 
But there is perhaps a feeling among us that a person who 
enunciates distinctly is affected, that so long as we make 
ourselves understood we are doing all that is necessary. 
These are of course false notions. If they were true in 
principle, then we should have nothing but noise for music, 
nothing but color for painting. 

There follows just below a list of words and phrases 
accompanied by the improper use or slovenly pronuncia- 
tion we so often give them. The list is not exhaustive in 
any sense. It should be supplemented by us from time to 
time as we hear or as we are conscious of using other bad 
forms. Only by means of this "checking up" process exer- 
cised on ourselves as well as others, and by the faithful use 
of the dictionary, can we hope to overcome the stubborn 
and slovenly habit of crude and vulgar pronunciation. 





have (cotild-a) 






am not or is not or are not 

a little ways 


a little way 





















don't die 
different than 








hadn't ought 


hern . 





hurted 1 

hoirted / 








for on 

for add 

for besieged 

for beat 

for among 
to refer to one object 

for carry or take 

for may 

for intend 

for champion 

for the 

for then 

for death 

for they 

for doesn't 

for don't you 

for different from 

for this 

for duty 

for drowned 

for don't know 

for affect 

for ate 

for accept 

for the expression of quantity 

for finger 

for fought 

for fight 

for odd 

for give me 

for get 

for well 

for imagine or think 

for go on 

with ought 

for shouldn't 

for healthful 

for hers 

for heard (and others) 

for his 

for himself 

for history (and other slurred pro- 

for hurt 

for ^Uusion 

for mg (the mutilated ending) 

for just 

for can 

for imperfect tense of lie (lay) 

for teach 

for let 
























say or listen (or both) 








these and those 



















for number 

for as 

as a conjunction 

for look at or look out 

for like 

for him, them (I told 'm) 

for vexed cf angry 

for my 

for almost 

for mother (fader, brudder) 

for common 

for now 

for ness 

for another 

for unto 

for person 

for purpose or intend 

for number 

as an adjective 

for very 

for think 

as a preface to some remark 

for past tense of sit (sat) 

for saw (the **r" trouble) 

for somewhat 

as an adverb 

for statute or stature 

for theater • 

as an adverb instead of "so** 

to modify sort or kind • 

for thief 

for thing 

for three 

for threw 

for through 

for ence 

for or 

for oral 

for with 

for see 

for what 

for what you 

for wont 

for want to 

for once 

for was 

for yours 

for you 

But if we make gross and illiterate errors in the use 
of single words, it is but natural that we should alSo violate 


the rules of their relations when they are used with one an- 
other. We are careless perhaps in observing the gram- 
matical relations between words; we make errors in our 
usage of words; we indulge in uncouth and awkward epi- 
thets ; we make tiresome repetitions ; and so on. The most 
common of these mistakes to which we are perhaps ad- 
dicted are summarized below. Here again it is, of course, 
likewise impossible to be exhaustive. All of us have 
grammatical troubles just as we have troubles in pronuncia- 
tion and enunciation, that are peculiarly our own. The 
only road to improvement is to be keenly and constantly on 
our guard. Doctors tell us that patients can often do more 
toward bringing about their own recovery by trying to get 
well than any amount of prescribed medicine can do. The 
same thing is true of our grammatical ills, — if we try to 
effect recovery we can do much toward genuine health. 
Books and teachers can offer us only certain aids and sug- 
gestions by way of treatment, but we are our own best phy- 
sicians. The following hints are offered, therefore, as 
helpful suggestions only. Each one of us must do much 
more for himself than can be done here, or anywhere else. 
We should strive to avoid 

1. Illiterate epithets and idioms : — 

♦ . This here — them there — ^he don't — I seen — she sung — he 

come (for imperfect tense) — the double negative (ain't 

got none) — the double superlative (most fullest glass)— 

end up — off of — start in — hadn't ought — I done — ^get a 

book off him — bunk into — feel badly, etc. 

2. The misuse of such words as : — 

Like, as— beside, besides— shall, will— if, whether— ex- 
cept, without, unless — in, into — ^lie, lay — sit, set — can, may 
— bring, take— good, well, etc. 


3. Hesitation and its consequences: — 

The "endless chain" sentence (connection of all ideas by 
"and-a").— The use of "well-a" "why-a", "now-a" and 
worst of all "say" or "say-a" within or at the beginnings 
of sentences. — The constant use of "then" after the sub- 
ject (John then went). — The double subject (John he 
went). — ^The confusion of proximity, causing us to 
use a plural predicate with a singular subject, or 
vice versa, (Each of the boys were there). — The general 
use of plural verbs with such subjects as, — each, every- 
one, any, either, neither, etc. — The nominative case after 
"between", (Between you and /). — The disagreement of 
pronouns with their antecedents. — Failure to use a sum- 
marizing word after having used a long complex subject. 
— The use of two introductory words to introduce a 
noun clause, (He says how that his mother is ill). — The 
use of stock and hackneyed expressions, (He took in 
the situation at a glance). — The use of slang, (if per- 
mitted on occasion, it should be so phrased by the voice 
as to imply to our hearers that its better equivalent is in 
reserve; in writing, it should of course be placed in 
quotation marks). 

The ability to converse gracefully and freely with others 
cannot be too highly commended. To this end we should 
organize conversational clubs among our fellows. The time 
may come (we hope soon) when educators will see that it 
is quite as important to have conversational classes in Eng- 
lish as it is to have them in French and German and other 
foreign languages. But, until they do, we should organ- 
ize among ourselves for drill and cultivation in conversa- 
tion. It is the most important thing in the world for us to 
know how to talk with one another fluently, gracefully, and 
correctly. Not only should we find that such an organiza- 
tion would teach us politeness in conversation, teach us not 
to break in upon one another abruptly, but it would beget 


in us also the additional power to make ready and appro- 
priate contributions to conversation. This power and the 
power to make clever and witty reply, known as repartee, 
can be acquired only by exercise. But once acquired we 
shall have an invaluable possession. There are some who 
fancy that, whenever they are thrown among people so- 
cially, they must tell jokes. They study a good joke book 
before going to a dinner, and then oblige everybody pres- 
ent to become a hypocrite in pretending to appreciate their 
borrowed and often antiquated humor. There is of course 
much to be said in favor of the good story, appropriately 
applied and well told. But never can it take the place of 
the sparkling, spontaneous wit that bubbles over in every 
direction from the tongue of a clever conversationalist. 
Let us then make it a point to talk as well and as interest- 
ingly as we can on all proper occasions, — at table, in cars, 
at recess; with our fellows and with our elders. Let us 
also listen intelligently to the conversation of others, that 
we may observe merits and defects and thereby profit our- 
selves. The living word is nowhere more delightful than 
in conversation. It is unfortunate, then, that in this prosaic 
age we have come to regard conversation too much as a 
means, and not sufficiently as an end in itself; we make it 
a commodity of intercourse rather than an art and a very- 
fine one ; we are too utilitarian in our view of the use and 
purpose of language, and not sufficiently artistic. 

There are two distinct types of speaking, prepared and 
unprepared or extemporaneous. Prepared speaking al- 
ways implies that we have memorized the words of another, 
or of our own after having written them, in order to 
deliver them to an audience. The forms of prepared speak- 
ing are recitation, oratory, argument, and impersonation. 
The order in which they are here named is the order in 


which we should study them. Recitation, the simplest and 
commonest, is the delivery from memory of the words, 
either prose or poetry, usually of another, with the aim 
of g-iving it whatever feeling and expression we think its 
author intended it to have. Oratory, the next simplest 
form, may mean the memorizing of the great orations of 
literature and delivering them to an audience, or, better, 
the memorizing of orations we have ourselves written, for 
presentation. Oratory should have in it forensic elements; 
elements, that is, that call for the expression of strong con- 
victions or beliefs or feelings in connection with the sub- 
ject treated. Argument, considered as a prepared type of 
speaking, implies that our argument has been written out 
Avord for word and memorized. It can rarely be the writ- 
ing of another that we memorize in argument. Like ora- 
tory, it calls for strong conviction and feeling about its 
subject. Impersonation is the most difficult of the prepared 
forms of speaking. It implies the memorizing of the 
lines in a dramatic piece of work and the full identification 
of one's self with the characters who speak them. The 
work of the actor and of the public reciter is the work of 
the impersonator. It is a very difficult work indeed, and 
one that depends more upon native gift and talent for suc- 
cess than do any of the other forms. 

Under the unprepared types of oral expression (known 
variously as extemporaneous, extempore, and impromptu 
speaking) occur all of the forms of our ordinary communi- 
cation with one another, all forms of speech. Conver- 
sation is the simplest and most obvious kind. It may take 
the form of ordinary social intercourse ; or it may take on 
the more distinctly commercial aspect of secretarial or rep- 
resentative conversation. The secretary, the salesman, the 
representative; the interpreter, — all such officials have to be 


trained conversationalists,— -conversationalists for definite 
business purposes, rather than for social pastime or deligfht. 
But they cannot depend very much upon the verbatim mem- 
orizing of words. They must be ready to meet any emer- 
gency by way of speaking. They must dictate letters ofF- 
hand ; they must interview strangers on a moment's notice ; 
they must persuade ; they must quickly discern the meaning 
of one man and put it into intelligible form for another. 
In short, they must be experts in ready oral expression. 
And, of course, they can become experts only by long prac- 
tice and constant care. But here, as in after-dinner speak- 
ing, as in telling jokes gracefully, as in standing before 
others and giving terse, pointed speeches or replies to 
speeches, much naturally depends upon native talent. 
There is, to be sure, such a thing as a gift for speaking, but 
we are all inclined to place too much importance upon this 
in others, for the purpose of avoiding its discovery in our- 
selves. We can all of us acquire the ability of making a 
graceful speech in public, no matter what type of speech we 
be called upon to make; and cultivation of and practice in 
these briefer, more obvious forms will soon enable us to 
stand before an audience and make an address of much 
greater length entirely extemporaneously. 

A good deal of argument is made extempore, or is de- 
livered with only the plan as a guide. Extempore argu- 
ment is an excellent exercise, but, for the sake of the argu- 
ment as well as in justice to the speaker, it should not be 
attempted until one has had considerable experience in the 
other forms of impromptu speaking. It is quite enough at 
first to be obliged to stand before an audience and talk 
without any preparation whatever. But to do this and in 
addition feel ♦that we are pitted against another is too 
much for the beginner in extempore speaking. We should 


practice first in the simpler forms, — conversation, jokes, 
speeches before our class, announcements, reviews of stories, 
etc., — ^before making an attempt at that form which not 
only calls for clearer and quicker thinking than any other, 
but in addition antagonizes us to another at the very out- 
set. As a beginning in extemporaneous argument, it is 
excellent training for a student to have rapid questions 
directed at him by the members of his class or club, and 
attempt to answer them. In this way he will be enabled 
to overcome that unreadiness and bewilderment which may 
embarrass him at first. Such drill will be of infinite value 
also in the answering of questions by teachers and in the 
ordinary recitation. The properly phrased, well-enunciated 
answers to such questions should be given as much consid- 
eration as the content, when it comes to assigning credit. 
And not only this, but also the position and general attitude 
assumed by us while answering questions should be made 
to count for or against us. 

There is not a situation in unprepared speaking, how- 
ever, that we shall not be able to meet, if we have care- 
fully pondered over the matter of planning, as we have 
studied it in this book, and if we observe the simple advice 
given in this chapter. We shall not of course have as much 
time to plan our material for oral work as for written, but 
the organizing habit which, it is hoped, we have by this 
time formed will "save" us wherever, however, whenever 
we may be placed for impromptu work in speaking. Im- 
mediately we are called upon for a speech, we must com- 
mence to organize our knowledge on the topic assigned, 
however brief, however incomplete that organization or 
plan may have to be. While taking our place before an 
audience, instead of wondering how we look, ^ow we shall 
"make out", whether we shall fail, we should be deciding 


exactly what ppint number one is going to be in our speech, 
what we shall say under heading number two, etc. If we 
have no time to get further than point one in our mental 
plan, let that make no difference. "Well begun is half 
done." If we have only one point of our progress well in 
mind, the strong probabilities are that we shall have no 
difficulty in following it up sequentially and successfully. 
We must be able to match the suddenness of the call to an 
impromptu speech with our alertness to systematize the 
knowledge we have of the subject assigned. This will dis- 
place nervousness with concentration, and will prevent our 
falling into an unintelligible confusion. 

Such subjects as inflection, modulation, pitch, rate, 
force, emphasis, pause, phrasing, and subordination belong- 
more exclusively to the study of elocution, so here we shall 
touch only upon those subjects which we ourselves may 
be able to interpret for the improvement of our daily speech. 
The first three named, — inflection, modulation, pitch, — 
have to do with the quality and tone of voice, something- 
that nature will attend to for us if we observe those laws 
of breathing to which attention has been called ; rate refers 
to the speed of our speaking, and it is sufficient to say of 
this that we should not talk extremely rapidly or extremely 
slowly, but should strike upon that rate of expression which 
will not interfere with our being understood, nor yet make 
us appear unnatural ; force and emphasis refer more particu- 
larly to the quantity of voice placed upon any portion or 
portions of our speech, the accentuating what we have to 
say by means of loudness or intensity or variation in the 
rate of the voice. For the explanation of all of these we 
should turn to a. good book on elocution. They are all of 
prime importance to us in the more advanced study of pub- 
lic speaking, but they need not be defined further than they 


are above for our purpose here. Pause, phrasing, and sub- 
ordination, however, which have to do with the manage- 
ment of the voice in its closer relation to subject-matter 
and are of every-day value to us, are worthy of a some- 
what closer consideration in this connection. 

Pause in speaking, either before or after we have made 
an important point, is a method of accentuating or empha- 
sizing that point. We have sometimes heard an eloquent 
pause or an eloquent silence. It was the result of this de- 
liberate act of emphasis on the part of the speaker. In ad- 
dition to this, pauses of varying lengths in our speech take 
the place somewhat of punctuation in our writing. We can 
usually tell where periods, semicolons, commas, etc., should 
be placed in the language of a good speaker. So surely, 
yet so unconsciously, does he pause here and there through- 
out his discourse, that we have no more doubt where his 
sentences end and where his thoughts are divided than we 
have about the declarative or the interrogative form of his 
expression. Just as we place a period, a question mark, a 
comma, almost unconsciously where they respectively be- 
long in our written composition, so we should indicate 
these same divisions in our speech by carefully graduated 
but natural pauses. Pause, then, is valuable for us in 
speaking, because it is a means of emphasis and accent, and 
because it indicates the division of ideas from one an- 

Phrasing is closely allied to pause in the matter of 
speaking. It means the grouping together of words into 
phrases and clauses by means of the voice, the partitioning 
of our oral expression into its grammatical compartments. 
Rather than talk straight ahead in an even, monotonous 
voice, placing all our phrases and clauses end to end, as it 
were, as if they were continuous with one another, we should 


indicate a grouping together of all our subject, alt our 
predicate, and all of our related modifiers. 

I ''When John came home from school | he said, | 'I think 
111 gq skating'; | but his mother reminded him | that he had 
chores to do."| 

Here, the perpendicular lines indicate the natural partitions 
of the thought. Instead of reading this sentence in one 
long monotonous strain then, we will read it in sections, or 
phrase it as indicated, and thus convey our meaning much 
more easily and intelligibly. And, what is equally impor- 
tant, the observance of the principles of pause and phrasing 
in our speaking will give us the opportunity for the con- 
trol and management of our breathing. 

Subordination is in turn closely allied to phrasing. 
By it we mean that we must show by the voice which ideas 
in our expression are subordinate to others. We should not 
in reading a complex sentence, for instance, give the depend- 
ent idea as much stress as the independent one; we should 
likewise indicate by means of the voice whatever paren- 
thetical expressions we make use of; and we should keep 
modifiers in a place subordinate to the words they modify 
by the subtle and skillful management of the voice. We 
have all heard such things as these done with the voice by 
able speakers, and we ourselves do them very expertly when 
we are talking to a group of friends about something in 
which our interest in the account we are giving so holds 
us that we cannot be anything else but natural. Our con- 
centration has helped us. Subordination is quite as neces- 
sary an element in oral expression as it is in written, and 
we can easily indicate it, not by means of graphic outline, 
of course, but by carefully relating our ideas to one an- 
other in our minds before giving expression to them. 


In conclusion, then, let us try, as best we can, to im- 
prove our speech under whatever circumstances we are 
called upon to use it, by means of closely observing the 
sugg^estions made in this chapter. Training in vocal ex- 
pression along even these elementary lines will, if faithfully 
practiced, enable us 

(i) to stand in good position before a class and tell in well- 
pronounced, grammatical English exactly what we have seen, 
heard, or experienced; 

(2) to explain, describe or argue clearly, forcibly and grace- 

(3) to converse freely and fluently; 

(4) to identify ourselves with some great character in lit- 
erature, and to relive in thought, feeling and expression that 
character's experience ; 

(5) to develop impromptu power; 

(6) to meet a ''speaking emergency'' with readiness and ease ; 

(7) to think analytically before an audience; 

(8) to interpret a piece of literature to others with spiritual 
and intellectual discernment; 

(9) to persuade others to our view; 

(10) to approach an employer or an employee of a firm with 
terse, well-delivered English; 

(11) "to talk" a letter and to perform other secretarial duties 
efficiently ; 

(12) to state an opinion, with reasons, unhesitatingly, logically 
and pointedly; 

(13) to coordinate voice, mind, and body in such a way as to 
give us address and personality for any situation in which we may 
happen to be placed. 



I. Make a speech before the class reviewing- the 
contents of this chapter. 

II. Explain to your classmates how to do something 
— ^build a boat, take a picture, m?ike a tackle, etc. — that you 
are interested in. When you are through, invite them to 
ask questions. 

III. Tell the story of some hero you have been read- 
ing of in literature. 

IV. Give an account to your classmates of some re- 
cent happening you read about in the newspaper this morn- 

V. Describe some beautiful or wonderful sight you 
have seen. Invite questions when you are through. 

VI. Argue the following question before the class, — 
Resolved: That the study of oral expression is more im- 
portant than the study of written expression. 

VII. Give an account to your classmates of an excit- 
ing game you have recently seen. 

VIII. Imagine yourself just elected to the presidency 
of a club. Make a short speech of appreciative acceptance. 
IX. Make a short speech that would be appropriate 
on your retirement from the presidency of a club. 

X. Explain an algebraic or other problem at the 

XI. Answer extemporaneously the following ques- 
tion (and others that your teacher will assign) : — 

Why did the original thirteen colonies rebel against 
England ? 

XII. Enumerate in a note-book, kept for the purpose, 
all the errors in oral expression that you yourself have 


made, or that you have heard to-day. Correct them and 
study the correct form. Such a note-book or "English 
diary" should be in constant use. 

XIII. Deliver brief speeches on : — 

How to Write a Composition, 

The Kinds of Extemporaneous Speaking, 

The Value of Conversation, 

The Different Kinds of Plans, 

Point of View and Purpose. 

XIV. Organize the class into an "extempore club" for 
an open meeting. Imagine an absent member to be ac- 
cused of theft. Let every member argue for or against 
the accused. (Speeches should be limited to five minutes 
each. ) 

XV. Imagine yourself an agent for some book or 
other article with which you are familiar. Talk to your 
classmates about it, trying to persuade them to buy it. Per- 
mit them to ask questions. 

XVI. Make* a speech before the class, sketching one 
of the following characters : — 

Shylock — Portia — Ivanhoe — The Ancient Mariner — Sir 
Launfal — David Balfour. 

XVII. Take some composition you have written, in- 
dicate by pencil marks pauses, phrasing, and subordination, 
and then read it to the class accordingly. 

XVIII. Let some "captain" or leader select a topic for 
discussion, divide it into sections, and assign these sections 
to separate members of the class. After each one has made 
a speech on his particular section, indulge in general con- 
versation about the topic by means of question, answer, and 


XIX. Make an oral criticisrn of one or more of the 
speeches given before the class. Criticise from the points 
of view of subject-matter, position, v6ice, gesture, plan, 
pronunciation, grammar, pause, phrasing, subordination. 

XX. Tell a short joke which necessitates the imper- 
sonation of one or more characters. 



Broadly speaking, there are four kinds of composi- 
tion, — Exposition, Narration, Description, and Argument. 
Write them in almost any sequence and the initial letters 
will form a memory word. As we have arranged them here 
that word is "Enda". This seems to be the best arrange- 
ment we can make, because it represents the order in either 
written or ofal composition in which they are naturally 
developed. A child calls first for explanation or exposition 
of the things it sees about it. We know what curious, and 
sometimes bothersome, questioners children are. It is be- 
cause of this belief in the fact that exposition is demanded 
first, and therefore is the earliest form to be naturally de- 
veloped, that we have placed expository plans first in this 
book. When the child gets a little older, it wants to hear 
stories or narrations about the things already explained. 
Its ability to appreciate a picture or description of these 
things will develop, as a rule, only after it has understood 
them or heard stories about them; though here our sequence 
is most imperiled, for we know the picture to be of great 
advantage, if used in connection with the exposition and 
the narration, for purposes of elucidation. Indeed, there 
are many cases in which it might very fittingly come first. 
The child, for instance, sees things before it asks to have 
them explained. But its mental picture of them is obscure 
or it would probably not ask so many questions. We are 



thinking of word-pictures, however, since we are dealing 
with composition, and there can be little doubt but that the 
ability for writing, as well as that for reading description, 
is much more difficult and therefore of later development 
than that for exposition, narration, , or argument. The 
power to argue is naturally developed last, calling as it does 
for maturer insight than does any of the other three. But 
we shall find these types arranged differently in different 
books; some, maintaining that narration is developed first, 
or is the easiest to write, will arrange them neda; some, 
believing that description should 3tand first^because of the 
concreteness of pictures, arrange them dean. We be- 
lieve, however, for the reasons just stated, that our arrange- 
ment is the most logical one. But we must hasten to add 
here that, just as we shall see a little later, no one of these 
four types ever stands alone, but two or more are always 
intermingled one with another, so also all four of them de- 
velop more or less simultaneously in the child. The an- 
swers to its early questions may be both narration and 
description. Precedence is given to exposition only because 
it is believed to be the most predominant in early childhood 
and because it is the least difficult therefore for the young 
to study first. 

We have shown the meanings of these four words in 
sketching their development thus briefly. To summarize, 
we may say that 

Exposition means explanation ; 

Narration means .the telling'' of a story, or the letting 
forth of a series of related actions or happenings ; 

Description means giving a worcf picture of a scene, a 
person, an object, or an event ; 

Argument means the debating of any given question 
from various points of view. 


Now we must accent a little more emphatically what we 
have just said about the relations among these four forms 
of composition. What was said about description above 
applies with equal force to all the other kinds. Rarely does 
a single one of them stand alone. Two or more of them 
are always found blended, however slightly', the piec^ of 
work taking its name from that type that predominates. 
Thus, a novel like Ivanhoe or Treasure Island is called a 
story or a narration because most of it is concerned with 
the telling of a series of events in the development of one 
big event. But it contains much excellent description as 
well, many necessary descriptions, and even perhaps some 
argument. Likewise, in explaining how lead pencils are 
made, a writer might throw the whole exposition into nar- 
rative form by entitling his work "The Story of a Piece of 
Lead", and thus explain the manufacture of lead pencils in 
a vastly more interesting way in the narrative form than 
he could were he to set to work to write a cold, dry-as-dust 
exposition.^ But his composition would contain exposition 
and description as well and, again, perhaps argument also. 
It is quite possible that the picture of a great battle or of 
some great allegorical figure will be wonderfully helped for 
us, if it is accompanied with an explanation of its meaning, 
or with a narration of the event it represents. Again, a 
lawyer, in order to bring all possible power to bear upon his 
side of a case, may have to employ all four of these kinds 
of composition. If his client be suing a railroad for dam- 
ages, he may have to explain exactly how an accident hap- 
pened ; he may tell the story dramatically ; he may describe 
his client as a man of powerful physique before the unfor- 
tunate occurrence and as a pitiable cripple for life after- 
ward; and all of these he may combine into such a subtle 
and able argument as to win his case. 


It will be pointed out later — ^though it has of course 
already been understood — ^that expository, descriptive, or 
argumentative points must be pjaced as subordinate topics 
in a plan that is distinctively narrative; that narrative, de- 
scriptive, or argumentative points must be placed as subor- 
dinate topics in a plan that is distinctively expository; etc. 
This is a matter of much importance to writers of long- 
works in any one of these types. But it is equally impor- 
tant for us also in our shorter experiments in composition, 
for we shall have to differentiate among them just. as accu- 
rately in our ordinary "school writing" as do authors in 
their "world writing". 

We see then that all four types may be, usually are, 
blended, each to help the other, and that the type that pre- 
dominates in this grouping, — ^the type, that is, that stands 
out most prominently, — is the one from which the composi- 
tion takes its name. It is possible, of course, as we have 
doubtless noticed in our study of literature, to reduce this 
intermixture to a minimum. In many expositions that we 
have read we have found almost nothing but pure exposi- 
tion; in many stories we have found almost nothing but 
the account of action. In description, which can be more 
easily isolated than the other types, we have found passages 
or indeed whole compositions that consisted of pure word- 
painting or word-picturing; and in argument, which is the 
most difficult to isolate, we have nevertheless seen examples 
in which every sentence dealt a death-blow to the opposite 
proposition by means of pure argument. The four types 
do therefore exist as such, and we must consequently study 
how to prepare to write each kind as an individual type, 
as well as how to tell the one from the other in our reading. 
To this end we shall study expository, narrative, descrip- 
tive, and argumentative planning in the pages that follow. 


Then, as occasion requires, we shall be able to combine the 
diflFerent types to Suit our special purposes. 

We shall see that many of the various styles of plans 
already discussed may be applied to any one of the types 
of composition just enumerated. Particularly is this true 
of the outlines which are named according to the arrange- 
ment of material, — running, formal, and informal. But 
we shall also see that there are certain forms of plan that 
belong to each separate kind of composition. It is better, 
for instance, we shall see, to use the sentence or the parti- 
cipial phrasal form for narration; the topical, phrasal, or 
clausal form for exposition and description; and the com- 
bination for argument. This arrangement cannot of course 
be made hard and fast, but it will be found to hold in the 
majority of cases which we shall meet with in our school 
work. Whatever variations occur will be noted as we pro- 

Up to this time we have studied carefully the form and 
arrangement of plans: subordination in plans; the various 
kinds of plans ; and .purpose and point of view. We shall 
therefore not develop our illustrative material so far as we 
have done in the preceding chapters, for we are now able 
to bring knowledge, which we did not possess before, to 
bear upon our tasks in writing. 


I. Make a formal study plan of this chapter. 
II. Select expository, narrative, descriptive, and ar- 
gumentative passages from some piece of literature you 
have read. Show what intermixture exists in each. 

III. Show how more than one of the types of compo- 


sition here mentioned might be combined in dealing with 
the following titles : — 

The Old Mansion, 

Jack's Discovery, 

Sunday Baseball Should Be Prohibited, 

The Parade, 

The Balloon Ascension. 

IV. Make a plan in which you enumerate all the good 
narrations you have read. Show by means of your ar- 
rangement which of these are most purely narrative, and 
which least so. 

V. Make a similar outline for all the expositions, de- 
scriptions, and arguments you can remember reading, and 
classify them as you classified the narriations in Exercise 



Exposition or explanation we take to be the com- '^ 
monest type of composition among the four. There is 
scarcely a day that we are not called upon to explain some- 
thing to somebody, or that we do not call upon some one to ^ 
explain something to us. "How do you do it ?" "How do 
I get to such and such a place ?" "Why did you do that ?" 
etc., are all questions that we are constantly hearing. The 
answers to them, however brief they may be, are expository, * 
for they all call for explanations. It is necessary that we 
study how to make a clear, definite, explicable answer to 
questions when they are asked us. If some one meets us 
on the street and asks for direction to some particular place, 
he will be helped just in proportion as we are masters of 
exposition. He may be in greater confusion than before 
making inquiry if our explanation to him is not concisely 
dnd explicitly expressed. We may know exactly where 
he wants to go and how best he can get there, but, as is 
too frequently the case, this knowledge is not matched with 
an equal knowledge of the l^ws of imparting information 
and consequently we fail to help the inquirer. 

It is best in all cases of expository answers to questions 
that we at the outset repeat the interrogation in the declara- 
tive form: — 

"Why are you doing this?" 
"I am doing this because — " 



If we can give evidence of quick organization of material 
in our answers, we shall be able to make them much 
clearer :-:- 

"Why are you doing this?" 

"I am doing this, first, because — ; 

second, because— etc" 

Here, by the introduction of "first", ."second", etc., we 
have divided our answer into a sequence that is easily IFoI- 
lowed, and into a sequence that should observe a regularly 
descending or ascending order of importance. If Mr. A. 
wants to get from the Strand, which he is now on, to Al- 
bany Street, which is on the other side of the city, we do 
not, of course, in giving him directions, trace his journey 
from Albany Street to the Strand, but we start at the point 
where he now is and trace the whole journey regularly as 
he will make it. With a little attention to our manner of 
answering such questions as these we can form the habit of 
systematizing the information we have to convey to such a 
degree that, when we come to write expository composi- 
tions, the matter of planning will not be so irksome or so 
difficult to us. The questions of parents and teachers 
should not be answered as briefly and as quickly as possible 
(as we too often do answer them) but always with some 
deliberation and forethought, not only upon what we are 
going to say, but on how we are going to say it as well. 

The relation between exposition and description is much 
closer than that existing between any other two types. 
This has already been intimated in the previous chapter, and 
we should have guessed it ourselves had we not been told. 
It is clear of course that in writing a character sketch of 
a person, in explaining a person, that is, we might enhance 
the explanation a good deal by accompanying it with a de- 


scription or picture of the person. There may be, for in- 
stance, certain facial features that are indicative of charac- 
teristics. In speaking of a man as having a high forehead, 
a square chin, a slender neck, we explain indirectly by these 
bits of description that he possesses certain characteristics 
which such features indicate. Perhaps some of us have 
w^ritten compositions on the margins of which we drew il- 
lustrations or pictures of certain phases or parts of our sub- 
ject. Combining ' diagrams thus with our exposition we 
were enabled to give a much more lucid idea of the matter 
we were writing about. . And such a combination cannot be 
too highly commended. Whenever and wherever possible, 
in explaining a subject to one who knows but little about it, 
we should " unite diagrams or sketches with our written or 
oral explanations. We know how valuable the stereopticon 
is to the lecturer who is trying to elucidate a subject to an 
audience, and we know too how plain it makes things and 
how enjoyable it makes a lecture that might otherwise bore 
us. We know how invaluable an aid a map of a city can 
be, particularly if we are strangers in the city. . We know 
how much Mr. A. will be helped if we take the time to 
draw a little plan of his journey from the Strand to Albany 
Street. And we know too that if our teachers accompany 
their verbal explanations with illustrative diagrams at the 
board, we are much better able to understand them. We 
may say, then, that as a rule exposition may be most advan- 
tageously helped by means of description, both verbal and 
graphic. The use of descriptive adjectives, the picturing of 
certain parts of the thing we happen to be explaining, will 
in most cases double the value of our exposition, because it 
will double the lucidity. No such interdependence exists 
between any two other types. 

Th6 commonest form of exposition, which, for the sake 


of convenience, w« shall call Pljiin Exjposition, develops its 
subject naturally from its beginning to its end. It is the^ 
style of exposition we should use when explaining a thing 
directly, for the first information of one who knows nothing 
whatever about it. It is "out-and-out" explanation, busi- 
ness-like and always conscious of itself. There is no ele- 
ment of entertaining for the purpose of merely interesting,, 
that we shall find in some other styles of exposition. As a 
rule our plan should follow the general headings here indi- 
cated : — 

I. Origin or source 

II. Kinds (Description) 

III. Methods or means of procuring (or manufacture) 

IV. Uses* 
V. Effects 

These represent what should be the main topics in our out- 
line. The subordinate topics should now be placed under- 
neath and to the right of these. Or we may, if we choose, 
omit these words from our plan altogether, and in their 
stead, state directly the facts that they stand for. If our 
title be "Coal'', then we may say, instead of IV (Uses), 
what uses coal actually has. It is however a little better 
to retain these headings, or as many of them as we can 
use in connection with any given subject, for they enable 
our reader to follow the course of the development a good 
deal more easily. There are subjects of course to the treat- 
ment of which all of these topics cannot be applied, yet in J 
explaining most subjects the majority of them will be J 
needed. Indeed, one can hardly imagine a subject for an '\ 
expository composition to which at least four out of the 
five major topics are not applicable. 

Let us be careful to notice that the plan suggested is 


topical. As a rule the expository plan' is topical, phrasal, 
or clausal. This is true because we must aim always to 
keep our points dependent upon our title and this depend- 
ence is always suggested by a topic, a phrase, and a clause, 
all being dependent members. The thing that we are ex- 
plaining is thus kept always before the reader's mind, every 
topic having something to which it must belong. We have 
seen that such is not the case where we have a series of 
independent sentences as our major points. A sentence is 
a complete statement wherever it stands. 

Under topic II (Kinds) we have placed the word 
'"Description" in parenthesis. This indicates that most of 
what we have to say here may be descriptive in its ilature. 
We have seen that in writing exposition we should be care- 
ful to subordinate as far as possible all elements that are not 
strictly expository. And we know also that this same rule 
is to be observed in writing narration, description, and ar- 
gument. Our major topics should always have in them a 
clear suggestion of the kind of composition we are writing. 
So also should our subordinate topics, wherever possible. 
Eyery one of the five main divisions above named suggests 
explanation. They do not suggest a story, or a picture, 
or an argument. When therefore we deal with II, which 
suggests, in addition to explanation, something of descrip- 
tion, we should, if our subject be "Coal", develop it some- 
what as follows :— 

II. Kinds 

1. Anthracite 

a. Hard 

b. Crystal-like 

2. Bituminous 

a. Soft 

b. Powder-like 



Or, if our subject be "Football" : — 

II. Kinds 

1. Rugby 

a(. The field 

b. The suit 

c. The play 

2. Association ("Soccer") 

a. The field 

b. The suit 

c. The play 

Here we have subordinated to the second degree those 
topics, — "hard", "field", etc., — ^which are distinctively de- 
scriptive, an arrangement that we should u^ally follow. 

But it might often prove more interesting and enter- 
taining were we to invert our plan for Plain Exposition. 
Thus, again, if we are to write about "coal'^, we may 'i 
very well start our composition by telling how comfortable 
we are, sitting before the open fireplace. We may then 
enumerate some other effect's of coal, and thus lead natur- 
ally into its various uses. From this point we can explain 
how it is procured (or if our subject be ^'silk''^ or *^*^pa- 
per", or "jam", or "tennis racket", how it is manufac- 
tured), how many kinds there are and where it comes from. 
We have thus traced our subject "coal^^ from its last place, 
our hearth, back to its first place, the mine ; and our outline 
has been reversed completely ; as : — 

I. Effects 

II. Uses 

III. How procured 

IV. Kinds ■ 
V. Source 

This would give us an Inverted Exposition, a type that is 
just as easily written as Plain Exposition and one that has 


the advantage of "catching the interest" at the outset. It 
is often used by speakers and writers when they find them- 
selves confronted with a difficult audience, or when they 
wish to treat a subject popularly. Children are often given 
most valuable information by centering their attention upon 
some most obvious thing near them and then working 
back from it to its various more remote characteristics. 
We have sometimes perhaps heard it called, "Proceeding 
from the known to the unknown". 

Another type of expository development is Narrative 
Exposition ; that is, explaining a subject by way of telling 
the story of its existence. Sometimes this is thrown into 
the first personal form, in which case it is called Autobio- 
graphic Exposition. Such subjects as:— 

The Story of a Piece of Coal, 

The Story of a Piece of Silk, ^. 

The Story of a Base-ball, 


When I Was a Piece of Coal, 
My Experiences as a Piece of Silk, 
My' Career as a Base-ball, 

all suggest a story, but a story that is going to be explana- 
tory in its nature. In writing such an exposition we should 
be careful to make the events of the story or of our experi- 
ences as something, typical events and experiences. W^ 
must not take the unusual happenings connected with any- 
thing we are explaining, if we are bent upon giving to our 
readers a good general understanding of the subject. "Afy 
Experiences — ", "Afy Career — *', as a diamond, must be 
the experience, the career of the average diamond, other- 
wise it will lose its value as an informing piece of exposi- 
tion. ^ 


' The planning of a narrative exposition will be treated 

in the next chapter as well as here, because it may be either 
narrative exposition or expository narrative, — the one aim- 
ing primarily at explaining, the other at entertaining. 
Treated as narrative exposition our subject should be 
planned according fo the forms above explained. "When 
I Was a Piece of Coal", might then be arranged as fol- 
lows: — 

I. My Home 


II. My Family 

III. My Journeys and Changes 

I. J 



IV. My Uses in Life \ 



V. My Effect upon Men and Things 



I. My Effect upon the Room and Its Inmates 

II. My Other Uses in Life 



III. My Various Journeyings 



IV. My Family 


? 3. 

V. My Old Home 

In either or both of these plans our purpose is to ex- 
plain the subject, but to explain it more entertainingly per- 
haps than we could have done by either of our former meth- 
ods. The same rules of subordination, for which spaces 
are left, apply here as in other cases. 

It sometimes happens that we are called upon to explain 
a subject, the very name of which suggests a variety of 
kinds or classes. Such titles, for instance, as "Tables", 
"Schools", "Underground Railways", "Conveyances", etc., 
are so markedly generic that the very mention of any one 
of them suggests its specific equivalents. This was not nearly 
so largely true of "Coal", "Baseball", "Silk". V^hen there- 
fore we are confronted with such easily divisible subjects, 
it is well to start our exposition with an explicit enumera- 
tion and differentiation of these various kinds, and then 
proceed to the explanation of one or of all of them, — if 
there are not too many divisions. Such a procedure means 
simply the changing of the sequence of I and II in our plan 
for Plain Exposition, thus : — 

I. Kinds 

II. Origin or source (of each or of one) 

III. How procured 




But the plan for Inverted Exposition cannot be so easily 
applied to the composition where we are dealing with "many 
in one". It is possible of course to tell how different roses 
affect one ; then to tell something of their uses ; then to ex- 
plain how they are grown and where they come from. It 
calls, however, for a good deal more care to prevent con- 
fusion if this method be followed with such a subject as 
"Roses", for instance. The autobiographic or narrative ex- 
pository plan can also be followed, if caution be taken not 
to individualize overmuch. The tendency with a very gen- 
eric subject always is (if we use the, narrative method) to 
forget all the kinds but the one we are representing by the 
first person. 



I. My Home - 


II. My Sisters and Brothers 




III. How We Were Nurtured 




IV. Our Various Uses 


V. Our Different Effects 




Such exposition, in which it is necessary for us to enu- 
merate many different phases or kinds of our subject, is 
called Enumerafive Exposition. The easiest, most lucid 
plan to follow will always be that where we name the kinds 
first (as suggested on page 233), but it will at the same 
time also be the most mechanical. To make the numera- 
tion, the mere tabulation, less obvious, we may make use 
of either the inverted type of plan or of the narrative, pro- 
vided that we exercise more than ordinary care to prevent 
confusion in doing so. 

Now, the plans that, we have thus far studied in this 
chapter answer, we may think, for only certain types or 
kinds of expository subjects. They will do very satisfac- 
torily for telling exactly what a thing is : for explaining 
in a general way all about such subjects as those named. 
But suppose .we want to tell how a thing is made, or how, 
it works. This word how is the root-word in matters 
pertaining to exposition, and we cannot under any circum- 
stances ignore it if we would equip ourselves for writing 
some of the most obvious exposition. However, with 
a little adjustment, the plans already discussed, we shall see, 
will be quite sufficient to meet this "How need". In order 
. to tell how a thing is made we need only to dwell at much 
greater length upon point IH — ^how manufactured — of 
our plan for Plain Exposition. Indeed we may ignore all 
the other points, if our aim be simply to explain how a 
thing is made, and elaborate this one alone. Perhaps our 
mothers or sisters are the most expert in this form of ex- 
position, for their recipes for cake and other eatables are 
masterpieces in it. Otherwise we should not eat their deli- 
cacies with so great a relish. If we take one of their re- 
cipes and make a deductive outline of it, we shall get some- 
thing like the following for our major topics : — 


I. Ingredients (or materials or parts) 
II. Mixture (how made, combination or adjustment) 
III. Result (the product, description of) 

Of course II will be much more highly subordinated than 
the others, for here the bulk of material will have to 
be placed. Point I will call for enumeration, and point 
III for a good deal of description. These three points 
represent, however, the general lines along' which we shall 
find it helpful to proceed when we iare asked to explain for 
the first time how a thing is made. After we have gained 
some experience in this method, we may then take the lib- 
erty of inverting our plan as we did that for plain exposi- 
tion earlier in the chapter. We may proceed from the 
known to the unknown and thus write a more interesting- 
and more entertaining exposition than we otherwise could. 
Thus, in treating the subject, **How to Make a Kite", we 
may outline our work as above, changing the terms slightly, 
perhaps ; or we may do it by starting with the complete kite 
that has fallen at our feet, telling what it looks like and then 
taking it apart, observing, as we do so, how and of what 
materials it is made. This, we see, would exactly reverse 
the process f 

I. The Product 
II. Manufacture (how made) 
III. Materials 

We might even write an exposition on 


"How to Make a Kite" 

in the narrative form. We should change the title a little 
in such a case, using perhaps something like this : 

"How I Became a Kite" 



and taking for our major topics the following, 

I. My Parts 
II. My Birth 
HI. My "Kite-hood" 

Or, as in the former case, the topics might be reversed. 
One of the general schemes, however, as here suggested, 
should be closely followed in order that we may have a 
consistent and regular development. If we are dealing 
with the abstract subject "Kites", we must of course use 
the plan for enumerative exposition. 

In explaining how a thing works, it is necessary for us 
to elaborate point IV (Uses) of our original expository 
outline and probably omit the other points. Naturally, to 
tell how a thing is used may not always^ mean to tell how 
it works, but to tell how it works invariably implies that 
we tell how it is used. The latter will necessarily go into 
much fuller detail thanjthe former. In. telling for instance 
what the uses of electricity are, we would enumerate first 
the actual uses, as, light, heat, locomotion, massage, etc. 
But to tell how it works in each individual case would mean 
a much wider elaboration of the topic. Therefore, in tell- 
ing how a thing works, as in telling how a thing is made, 
it is best that we should omit all the points but IV in 
the first case, and III in the second; otherwise, if 
we elaborate these points to the extent to which they 
should be elaborated, and treat the other points as well, 
we shall find our composition growing far too long, and 
perhaps unmanageable. Now, suppose we have some such 
title as: 

"How to Operate a Camera". 


We may here divide our subject mainly into the natural 
sequence of operations; thus: — 

I St Operation: 
2nd Operation: 
3rd Operation: etc. 

or, we may use a more generally applicable form ; such as : 

I. Preparation 
II. Operation 
III. Discontinuance (or completion) 

"How to Work a Motor", "How to Fly a Kite", "How to 
Run an Automobile", and any number of other such titles 
coming under the general title of how a thing works, can 
be developed along any of these three main lines. And, 
here again, the method may be reversed, or converted into 
the narrative expository form, "How I Run", told, imagi- 
natively, in the first person by a motor, or "How I Fly", 
told in the same way by a kite, would probably have a 
novel and arresting interest at the very outset and through- 
out the composition. 

It has been noticed by this time that the divisions of 
subject-matter indicated follow pretty closely the divisions 
of the formal plan. The division names of the formal plan 
may be used, if we care to use them, but they will be found 
appropriate only in the case of Plain Exposition. We may, 
if we so desire, use our very first expository plan in the 

formal mold ; thus : — 


I. Introduction 

1. Origin 

2. Kinds 


II. Discussion 

1. Methods 

2. Uses 

III. Conclusion 

I. Effects 

This however necessitates our using one degree more of 
subordination all along the line of development, and may as 
a consequence burden our work unduly. In the other types 
of exposition however, — Inverted, Narrative, and Enumera- 
tive, — it will be found better to keep to the informal plan, 
and to employ, wherever possible, words for our major 
topics that suggest our method, — words, for instance, that 
are more or less peculiar to the subject in hand, rather than 
the cut-and-dried terms of the formal plan. To illustrate : 


I. . The Mint 

II. My Restless Life 



III. My Uses and Abuses 




IV. My Good and III Effects 



V. My Undoing 


We come now to probably the most important type of 
the -expository plan ; namely, that of the character sketch. 
Though it will often, indeed usually, be enhanced by means 
of description, we must never forget that character sketch- 
ing is character explaining and is therefore properly 
classed as exposition. The subordinate description or pic- 
turing of form and feature will of course often help us to 
an understanding of the character' of a person, but character 
itself is something that cannot be seen in the ordinary sense, 
though its manifestations may be. 

The easiest and most common form of plan for a char- 
acter sketch is the one in which the chief characteristics are 
enumerated at the outset, each being taken up in turn for 
individual discussion in the order of this enumeration; 

thus : — 


Point of View — ^That of impartial acquaintance 
Purpose — To show that he is not a desirable companion 

I. Characteristics 

1. Selfish 

2. Untruthful 
3- Lazy 

11. Selfishness 

1. With his sisters 

2. With his fellows 

3. With his pets 

III. Untruthfulness 

1. To his parents 

2. To his teachers 

3. To his fellows 

4. To strangers 


IV. Laziness 

1. At home 

2. At school 

V. Conclusion 

1. Few friends 

2. Unhappy life 

3. My opinion of him 

The general method here adopted is at once obvious. 
The plan might be further elaborated by inserting subordi- 
nate topics of the second degree, stating concrete occasions 
upon which the exhibition of the various characteristics took 
place. Thus, II might be expanded : — 

II. Selfishness 

I. With his sisters 

a. At games 

b. With gifts 
■ 2. With his fellows 

a. In play 

b. In school work 

j c. In general attitude 

3. With his pets 

a. In teasing them 

b. In feeding them 

Such an outline has the very grave danger, however, of 
making our composition too mechanical and artificial, but 
for the beginner in character sketching it cannot be too 
highly recommended. 

Sometimes the whole sketch may be deduced from a 
careful description of features, as : — 

I. John's appearance 

1. Erect stature 

2. High forehead 

3. Clear eyes 

4. Straight nose 

5. Square chin 


II. Characteristics deduced 

1. Intelligence 

2. Honesty 

3. Straightforwardness 

4. Determination 

III. Intelligence 


'Or, if we desire to make the matter of description more of 
an incident or more subordinate, we may insert the descrip- 
tive details under each characteristic mentioned : — 

1. Intelligence 

a. shown by high forehead 

2. Honesty 

a. shown by clear eye 

We can frequently enliven our sketch and make it vastly 
more interesting and less monotonously stereotyped if, at 
the outset, we tell a little story about our subject illustra- 
tive of his various characteristics. From this we can less 
obviously than in the other form deduce the characteris- 
tics and comment upon them briefly. And it will be possi- 
ble of course in telling the story to add brief descriptive 
touches. Thus : 

The grand old man took his place on the witness stand with 
that ease and composure of manner for which he had long 
been admired by all who were privileged to know him. His long 
white hair was brushed straight back, revealing his noble fore- 
head; and his eyes bespoke the daring, together with the gentle 
confidence, which one always looks for in a really great man. 

"Mr. Granville," snarled the opposing lawyer, "at what hour do 
you dine?" 

"At the Christian hour, 12 o'clock, Sir !" came the answer like 
a flash. 


I. The Story 

1. Attitude 

2. Appearance 

3. Question 

4. Answer 

II. Qiaracteristics Displayed 

1. Freedom 

2. Frankness 

3. Fearlessness 

III. Freedom 


IV. Frankness 

. etc. 

There is further the narrative character sketch (belong- 
ing to expository narrative), all of which deals with a story 
in which the character to be sketched is the central figure 
or hero. This type, however, properly belongs to Narra- 
tion and we will therefore study it in the next chapter. 


(Remember that an subjects should be limited by Point 
of View and Purpose. ) 

I. Imagine yourself being asked the way to some 
remote part of the city or town in which you live. Write 
down consecutively the directions you would give. Draw 
a rough, marginal plan of the route. 

II. Complete those plans in this chapter that have 
been left incomplete. Add purpose, point of view, and sub- 
ordinate topics to each. 

III. Make as many different expository outlines for 



each of the following as you can. Then write the exposi- 
tion for three of them: 

How to Plant a Garden The Grading in our School 

How to Play Hockey Bricks 

The Base-ball Diamond Building a House 

How the Trolley Car Runs My Duties 

How to Make Stilts The Story of a Newspaper 

IV. Plan and write an exposition explaining 

a. some problem in algebra, 

b. some subject in biology, 

c. some subject in economics. 

V. Plan and write an exposition on each of the fol- ' 
lowing : 

A Diamond A Lady's Fan 

A Dew-drop A Piece of Chalk 

A Piece of Marble 

VI. Make an informal expository study plan of this 

VII. Plan and write an enumerative exposition on 
each of the following: 

Boots Vehicles 

Money Clouds 


VIII. Plan and write a character sketch of one of your 
classmates. Use a fictitious name and see if the members 
of your class recognize whom you refer to. 

IX. Make plans for character sketches you would 


write on any of the following. Vary the types of outline 
used : — 

Rover, my Dog The Newsdealer 

Prince, my Pony The Milkman 

Mary, my Sister The Sulky Conductor 

Jack, my Friend The Reckless Driver 

Father The Fisherman. 

X. Select several expository articles from the news- 
paper and deduce plans from them. 



We have said that narration is an account, of action, 
of an event, or of a happening. The range or scope of 
narration may extend all the way from the most rapid 
kind of action, such as the account of an attack upon a foi> 
tress, through ever lessening degrees to an account of a 
quiet stroll through the fields. Since we have to do with 
action in writing narration, it is always well for us to indi- 
cate this action at least in the major topics of our plan by 
means of verbs, the really narrative parts of speech. This 
we can do by using the sentence form of plan or the par- 
ticipial phrasal form; or, if we choose to use nouns for our 
headings, we should see to it that the nouns used are such 
as are name$ of action ; nouns, that is, that connote action, 
such as plunge, dive, fight, groan, kick, etc. These nouns 
are not only the names of action, are not only used as verbs 
sometimes, but they give us a picture, however vague, of 
the action as soon as we read them, and we may for con- 
venience call them "narrative nouns". Contrasted with 
such nouns as water, tree, illness, hand, they are seen to 
have a very distinct value for our purposes in narration. 

In slow narration, where we are concerned only with the 
most casual kind of action, we may write our major topics 
in chronological order, without paying very much attention 
to the fact as to whether one point is more important than 
another ; thus : — 



I. I decided to take a walk 

II. I strolled through the fields 




III. I studied the flowers and the trees 




IV. I meditated upon the wonders of nature 



V. I arrived home. 


Or, we may prefer to use the other form : — 

I. Deciding to take a walk 

II. Strolling through the fields 


III. Studying the flowers and the trees 




IV. Meditating upon the wonders of nature 



V. Arriving home 


Here, nothing but the most commonplace happenings occur 
and we have Slow Narration. Such subjects as "My Study 
Period", ''Going to School This Morning", "How I Spent 
Saturday", etc., lend themselves to slow narration. How- 
ever, all of them, under special circumstances, may become 
converted into the most rapid kind of narration. If, in 
taking our walk, we had met a ferocious bull which gave 
us a lively chase, our account of the little journey might 
have been converted into a hair-raising episode indeed. So 
it is with any other subject for slow narration, — our ac- 
count of it may commence most casually, something may 
have happened to hasten it, and the most rapid action may 
be the result. 

Suppose, now, that we want to write a more exciting 
story, such perhaps as the following series of nouns might 
indicate, — Boy, Gun, Fun, "Bust!" Dust!! or 

1. Boy, 

2. Gun, 

3. Fun,-— 

4. "Bust!" 

5. Dust!! 

Here the events have become more and more stimulating 
as our little story progressed. Points i and 2 created the 
situation. The other points built up a series of events 
which, though starting calmly enough, ended most disas- 
trously. There was nothing to alarm us in describing the 
boy. When he was given a g^n we were perhaps a bit 
interested. When he decided that fun must follow, we 
probably sat erect in our chairs. When the gun went off, 


we should have been much excited; and possibly we wept 
when we found nothing but dust remaining from the little 
episode ! No matter whether we were thus moved or not, 
we have here all the elements of a Rapid Narration. We 
must notice in conclusion that points i and 2, being intro- 
ductory points, are not narrative nouns, such as we said 
above should be used in depicting action. The nouns used 
in points 3, 4, and 5, however, all have a suggestion of 
action about them. 

In this story, as in all more rapid narration, there are 
two efements which must be fixed in mind as belonging par- 
ticularly to narration. These are Suspense and Climax: 
It is not sufficient that our rapid narration be composed of 
action, but the action must be arranged through steps of 
suspense and lead up to a climax. By suspense we mean 
the accentuation of interest or excitement in a story as it 
proceeds. Each point that we make in telling our story 
must have a keener zest in it than the one immediately 
preceding has. To be kept expectant, interested, excited 
perhaps, eagerly anticipating what is to happen next as a 
result of what has just taken place, — this is suspense. The 
more of such "holds" or "grips" there are upon our interest, 
the more keenly shall we read the narration, the more keenly 
will our narrations be read. Moreover, these points of 
suspense must develop one out of the other in a scale of as- 
cending interest, — they must form the steps up which we 
are anxious to climb in order to find what is at the top of 
the stairs, in order to learn what the outcome or resolution 
of the story is. Each must be the result of the other, and 
each must "go the other one better" in point of interest. 
That point which represents the limit or highest plane of 
interest, the greatest conceivable point of interest, we call 
the Climax. The word "Bust!" in our homely illustration 


above is the climax of that story. At this point in a story 
our suspense is usually exhausted. Something miist hap- 
pen to unravel or solve the situation here. The point 
(there may however be more than one) that follows quickly 
upon the climax is called the Resolution. It is usually 
more expository than narrative in that it explains away 
the tense situation that has gone before and brings us to 
that delightful place, of which we have so often heard, 
where everybody decides to "live happily (or otherwise) 
ever after". 

Of course it will be clear that the matter of proportion 
enters very largely into the arrangement of material in 
narration, since we must apportion certain sections to sus- 
pense, and certain others to climax and resolution. The 
points of suspense should demand our attention for at least 
one-half or, better, three- fourths of a story, the climax and 
the resolution occupying the remainder. The resolution 
should be as brief as possible, for no one will be very 
deeply interested in a narration after all me best happenings 
have been recounted. There is very little to read of or to 
*'read for" after the climax has been reached, except per- 
haps the explanation of a few vague details, or the subse- 
quent disposition of characters. Some stories, such as 
many of Poe's, Stockton's, Gorky's, Coppee's, and a vast 
number of others, conclude with the climax, leaving the 
reader to ponder upon the outcome, though they are left in 
nowise unfinished from the point of view of workmanship. 
This is a particularly characteristic method with the French 
story writers ; and it can be used much more safely in short 
stories than in longer ones, or in novels. However, Bret 
Harte in America and Thackeray in England have taken 
popular novels at their points of resolution and have con- 
structed interesting and readable new stories upon the con- 



elusions of the older ones. We will illustrate this propor- 
tion by means of lines, and then present a better plan of 
rapid narration. The proportion of parts should, generally 
speaking, be as follows : — 







Or, as it is often better represented, in order to indicate the 
increasing interest a story should have : — 



Point of View — That of a comrade on the river bank 
Purpose — To show the result of heedlessness 

I. Bob plunges in 

1. Advised to stay out 

2. Laughs at advisers 

II. He splashes about awkwardly 

1. Doesn't know the stroke 

2. Keeps mouth open 

3. Struggles harder and harder 


III. He calls tragically for help 

1. Realizes his foolishness 

2. Cannot save himself 

IV. He sinks 

1. Our efforts to locate him 

2. Our dive for him 

V. He comes to surface 

1. Attempts to save himself 

2. Calls feebly 

VI. He again comes to surface 
I. Mute and pale 

VII. He appears the third time 

1. Deathly appearance 

2. Grabbed by rescuer 

VIII. He is pulled to shore with difficulty 

1. Drags rescuer down 

2. Both seem lost, but 

3. Both are safe at last 

IX. He regains consciousness 

I. Recognizes mother, doctor and friends 

Or, if we prefer the participial phrasal plan, or the plan 
in which we use narrative nouns for major topics, we may 
proceed according to one of these : — 

I. Plunging in I. The plunge 

1. I. 

2. 2. 

II. Splashing about awkward- II. The splash 


1. I. 

2. 2. 

3- 3. 

III. Calling for help III. The call for help 

I. I. 

2. 2L 



IV. Sinking 


V. Coming to surface 


IV. The sinking 


V. The first rise 


VI. Coming to surface a sec- VI. The second rise 

ond time 



VII. Appearing the third time VII. The third appearance 



VIII. Being pulled to shore 




VIII. The rescue 



IX. Regaining consciousness IX. The recovery 



In this illustrative plan, whichever form we have, our 
first six points are points of suspense, though I and II 
are so quiet as to justify us perhaps in calling them intro- 
duction. Each succeeding one represents Bob's position as 
more perilous than its predecessor. Point VII would 
seem to be quite the most serious in Bob's swimming ex- 
perience. Our excitement is at fever heat just here. In 
VIII it begins to be abated or resolved, and the com- 
plete resolution occurs in point IX. It will be noticed that 
our topics, both major and minor, are stated in some form 
by means of which action is indicated. The verbs used are 
in very large measure active action words; that is to say, 
each one connotes some special, clearly defined action. We 
should avoid using such verbs as, was, is, have, must, etc., 
in our major topics, unless they are auxiliary to other verbs 
that denote real action, for these verbs are really not action 


words at all. And in the plan where we make use of nouns 
we have been careful to deduce narrative nouns from the 
original outline. It is perhaps a little better to use the sen- 
tence form of plan at the outset of our writing- narration, 
for we are thus less likely to make errors in the matter of 
keeping our points uniform in expression and indicative of 
action. Sentences are moreover clearer to the average 
reader than phrases or single words can ever be, and it is 
a good exercise for us to write complete sentences when- 
ever we can do so. The minor points in a narrative outline 
may however be expressed in whatever form we care to 
use, — ^words, phrases, clauses, or sentences, — so long of 
course as we express ourselves systematically. 

It is always best when we have a story to tell to get 
to work at once with it, to start with some important event 
in that story, and to conclude equally promptly and tersely. 
But sometimes, particularly in long stories, it is necessary 
to explain or describe certain details at the outset, in order 
that the reader may understand what is to follow. And 
again, some writers insist upon adding a moral to the ends 
of their stories. We have all read such narrations, and 
perhaps we have been bored not a little. However, when 
a story is to contain either or both of these, our narrative 
plan must necessarily assume more or less the formal style 
of plan. We may, if we choose, omit the middle point — 
Discussion, or 'Development — and insert our narrative 
points directly instead, but the Introduction and Conclusion 
should be kept apart from the rest of the plan; briefly 
thus : — 

I. Introduction 

1. Characters 

2. Scene 

3. Conditions or circumstances 






He plunges in 






I. A sadder but a wiser boy 


2. Effect upon all 

Sometimes the introduction may be given and not the con- 
clusion, and vice versa. We can perhaps conceive of the 
necessity for an introduction a good deal oftener than 
for a conclusion. The conclusion to most stories can be 
gracefully absorbed in the resolution and this should al- 
ways be attempted. Too often the conclusion is little 
more than the author's insistence upon himself, the unre- 
sisted desire to express his own comments upon the char- 
acters of the story, or to advise the reader of this, that, 
or the other useless thing. 

And just here we should fix in our minds the mean- 
ing of the word "episode", though we probably know ex- 
actly what it means from the reading we have done in 
various authors. An episode is a lesser, a subordinate, a 
minor event in a story; or it may be a major happening, 
but one that, standing alone, is not sufficient of itself to 
form a complete story. It is to a narration very much 
what a phrase or a clause is to a complete sentence. In 
the above plan the call for help, the sinking, the rescue, 
are all episodes in or sections of the story. A complete 
narration is therefore made up of a series of coherently 
connected episodes. 

We hope the rapid narration has not been over-accented 


here, for that would be something of a mistake. The 
average cheap detective story is a bad example in rapid 
narration/ and is oftentimes the result of concentration 
upon that type of narration alone. In such stories the 
writer has purposely exaggerated and colored (too often 
with blood) the elements of suspense and climax, until 
there is little or nothing else to be found in his work. 
The rapidity of action has become unregulated and un- 
couth. The author does not keep it under restraint. A 
boy once very aptly defined a detective story as one in 
which the author held the reader by his hair over an in- 
terminable precipice and left him hanging there. This 
is a very good definition, indeed. But we can ignore such 
stories very profitably and without any regret because we 
have no end of good rapid narration to read. Nearly all 
of those stories and novels which are recommended by 
our teachers, or which we find in our libraries, are excel- 
lent rapid narrations. Scott, Dickens, Stevenson, Thack- 
eray, and their scores of brother and sister writers will 
more than satisfy our appetites for good and exciting nar- 
ration if we will but let them. There are also many 
poems that belong to this class of narrative, such as By- 
ron's Mazeppa, Macaulay's Lays of Ancient Rome, Cole- 
ridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Arnold's Sohrab 
and Rustum, and others. We shall find in all of these 
every one of the qualities of good narration without any 
of the bad qualities of the cheap detective story. We 
might observe for a moment just a brief classification of 
a few narratives we have read from time to time, indi- 
cating clearly the slow and the rapid type; and placing 
between them a group of narratives of medium action, 
though these will of course be more variable than the 
other two forms : — 


Slow — Mrs. Gaskell's Cranford — Whittier's Snowbound — 
Medium — Pranklin's Autobiography — Bunyan's Pilgrim's Prog- 
ress — Longfellow's Courtship of Miles Standish — Lowell's Vision 
of Sir Launfal — 'Rapid — Scott's Quentin Durward and Ivanhoe — 
Blackmore's Lorna Doone — Dickens' Tale of Two Cities — Haw- 
thorne's House of Seven Gables — Stevenson's Treasure Island — 
Byron's Maseppa and Prisoner of Chilian — Coleridge's Ancient 
Mariner — Macaulay's Lays of Ancient Rome. 

Naming thus but a few, we see that the rapid narratives 
predominate and that, therefore, we should have no cause 
to complain that we have no good reading of this kind. 

It is worthy of our consideration also that writers of 
narration frequently feel the necessity of starting their 
stories immediately, no matter what important introduc- 
tory details they may have to present. Paradoxical as it 
may appear, they will postpone the introduction until after 
the story itself is told, and thus make of it a kind of con- 
clusion. Yet it is not really a conclusion, because it hap- 
pens to be placed last. We have learned by this time, it 
is hoped, that the conclusion of any piece of writing is 
not so called because it stands last in that piece of writ- 
ing, but rather because it contains material which by its 
very nature is conclusive; and it is the same with the intro- 
duction : not everything that stands first in a piece of writ- 
ing is to be called introductory, but there are certain specific 
elements in writing that are introductory by their very 
nature, no matter in what part of that writing they occur. 
We have noticed the transposed introduction in The An- 
cient Mariner. Coleridge starts his story at once, and the 
reader's interest is thus caught just as the Wedding Guest's 
interest was caught by the Marineri^ who in turn began 
his story abruptly and suddenly. At the end of the poem, 
however, the poet explains, through the Mariner, how it 


happens that the story is told here and now, and why it is 
told to such a person as the Wedding Guest. In other 
words, the time, the scene, the conditions of the story, all 
of which are distinctly introductory points and which we 
should expect naturally to be introduced at the beginning 
or incidentally along the way, are all stated at the end. 
The poem has also a clearly marked conclusion distinct 
from this in the moral it teaches in the four or five last 
quatrains and in the disposition of characters. 

As in exposition, so in narration, those passages or 
parts of different kinds of composition that are necessary 
to the story should be introduced subordinately. The de- 
scriptions of characters or scenes, the explanations of con- 
ditions, all of which may be very necessary to a proper un- 
derstanding of our story, should be kept strictly incidental 
and subordinate. 

Remembering then that narration is, as an account of 
action, arranged chronologically, and, if rapid, arranged 
also through steps of suspense to a climax and brief reso- 
lution, we come now to the consideration of one or two 
special types of narration. Many of our reading problems 
in arithmetic and algebra are short narratives to which we 
strive to find correct resolutions. History is a story of 
what has actually happened in the past. Sometimes it is 
very slow narration, to be sure, and sometimes, when re- 
counting the events in an attack or a battle, it is very rapid 
indeed ; and of course it must always contain a fair amount 
of exposition and description. But after all the different 
kinds of composition have been taken account of in the 
history of any particular country or of any particular 
period, we shall fintf that narration predominates, that all 
the other forms have combined in such a way as to make 
narration the tjrpe of the whole. 



We referred at the end of the preceding chapter to the 
narrative character sketch. This form of composition is 
nothing more or less than the elucidation of certain char- 
acteristics by means of action on the part of the character. 
By what our subject does, our readers are able to infer 
pretty accurately what he is. The titles for such composi- 
tions are usually simply the names of the characters about 
whom we are writing, or their names with their leading 
characteristics added. Thus : — 


Point of View — ^That of a fire chief 

Purpose — ^To show Freckles' superiority over other men 

I. Introduction 

I. How he got his name 

II. Freckles discovers fire 

^ 3. 

III. Freckles sends in alarms 



IV. Freckles is the first in the burning building and the 

last out 



V. Freckles carries burning people, down ladders to safety 



VI. Freckles refuses rewards 



In this composition, we read about Freckles' doings and 
from them we gather exactly what kind of fellow he really 
is. As a rule there is a minimum of description given, 
either by way of introduction or as incidental to the whole 
story. We are concerned almost only with the actions of 
the character because we are writing a narrative character 

Biography, together with autobiography, forms one of 
the most important types of narration, rapid if of such 
men as Napoleon and Washington; slow, if of such men 
as Emerson and Thoreau; sometimes both rapid and slow, 
if of such men as Tolstoy and Lincoln. Haying, as it does, 
a maximum of event and a minimum of character sketch 
and description, it belongs, as we were told in the preced- 
ing chapter, to narration proper. It is a life story. Of 
course by telling the main events and happenings in a 
man's life, we may throw the brightest light upon his char- 
acter, but it is a reflected light, reflected from the story 
of his life, and we are not writing then a character sketch 
per se. The exhibition of characteristics is a more or less 
incidental thing. 

The most common type of plan for the average "Life" 
runs in chronological fashion, very much as follows : — 




Early education 


Profession (including start in life) 


Great works and achievements 






Often the mere details are given at the beginning, and 
the last point is devoted to eulogizing the subject of the 
sketch : — 

I. Dates (birth and death) 

II. Early education 

III. Profession (including start in life) 

IV. Great works and achievements 

V. Retirement 

VI. Eulogy (summary of achievements and the world's in- 
debtedness to subject) 

Again, we may find that a biography or autobiography 
can be inverted, as it were, with most interesting and tell- 
ing effect. We may start with the latest and most vivid 
affairs in a man's life, — his last utterances, his death, his 
funeral and interment. Then we can proceed to his great 
life affairs and conclude perhaps with a contrast between 
our subject's great accomplishments and his humble birth 
and parentage. To illustrate : — 

I. Conclusion of a great and glorious life 



II. Phenomenal achievements 




III. Equipment for this work the key to his life 



IV. His success compared and contrasted with his humble 



And still another method in biography and autobiogra- 
phy is to start with a man's great works and center all 
other details of his life about these as mere incidents or 
as contributing factors to them. 

This wide leeway may lead us to think that we may 
employ almost any method in writing biography. Well, 
we may do so, provided that here as everywhere else our 
work evidences plan and system, and does not present a 
man's career as a jumbled mass of unrelated experiences. 
The outline of a man's life depends so largely upon what 
kind of man he happened to be that it is more difficult here 
than anywhere else to lay down hard and fast rules about 
a plan for his biography. No two men are exactly alike, 
and it is natural therefore that accounts of men's lives 
must vary accordingly. It is for this reason that we have 
postponed this form of narration till the last, after we 
have studied the various styles of outlining. We now 
have a sufficient foundation in planning, or should have, 
to enable us to make a dozen different kinds of biographic 
outlines and have them all equally good. We must bear 
in mind, however, that, in all cases where we are dealing- 
with a character whose life has been made up of a series 
of events each more exciting than the other, until a climax 
in his career is reached, we should treat our subject just 
as we would any other narrative subject. Our purpose, 
in other words, should be to make a good story of the life 
of a man, provided the elements in that life warrant 


our doing so without any exaggeration. It will be prac- 
tically the same as a narrative character sketch, with the 
exception that it will be much wider in scope and much 
more detailed in information. 


(Remember that your plans should have Purpose and 
Point of View» and that in writing upon most of the sub- 
jects suggested below you should use your imagination 
freely if you would make your narration interesting.) 

I. Plan and write slow narrations on the following 
topics : — 

My Day in School 
Watching a Robin 
A Walk with Rover' 
Saturday Morning's Sport 
How We Went to the Fair 

II. Show by means of outline how all of the above 
may be converted into rapid narrations. 

III. Deduce a good narrative plan from some story 
(prose or poetry) you have read. Indicate suspense, cli- 
max^ and resolution. 

IV. Draw up rapid narrative plans — sentence, 
clausal, or topical — on the following : — 

A Brave Rescue At the Game 

Frank and the Indians Tom's Great Hit 

A Spirited Contest Robinson's Downfall 

Catching a Fish Jim's Quickness 

A Sensational Home-run Rocking the Boat 

V. Make a plan of some battle you have studied 
about in history. Include exposition <ind description in 


the plan, and accompany it with marginal diagrams of 
the fields and battle lines. 

VI. Plan and write a biography of 

a. Tabby the Cat 

b. Frank the Horse 

c. Rover the Dog 

VII. Make a plan of your own life of the past two 
or three years. 

VIII. Make a formal narrative outline, based upon 
and elaborating the following story : — 

In consequence of hunger, John steals fruit from a fruit- 
stand. He is taken before the magistrate by a policeman. 
His father and mother appear. A rich man arrives in his 
motor at the last moment. The boy is pardoned. He starts 
life anew. 


IX. Plan the story of some hero or heroine you have 
read about in literature. Imagine yourself figuring in the 
story and write it therefore in the first person. 

X. Write a narrative character sketch of each of 
the following, imagining each to have done some deed that 
brings out particular qualities. You may add the leading 
characteristic of each to the title if you prefer : "Reddy" — - 
'Tatty"— "Gritty"— "Bunny"— "King''. 



Description is a word picture of any person, place or 
'' thing. The first and easiest arrangement of material for 
description is of course the natural one, or the one that 
corresponds most nearly to our method of viewing a thing 
with the eye, If we look at a field, we see first the broad, 
general expanse and outlines of the field. We have no 
close or detailed scrutiny of anything in the field, but just 
a most general idea of it. As we continue gazing at it, 
however, our eyes become focused or adjusted, so that we 
spe more and more minutely into the field and witness all 
that it contains. The finest details are brought out clearly 
to our view proportionately to the length of time we spend 
in gazing at it. In other words, our viewing of objects 
is directed from the general to the particular; our eyes 
g^ow more and more capable the longer we concentrate 
them upon an object; again, our method of seeing things 
is, to use a homely figure, somewhat funnel-shaped, as fol- 
lows : — _ 




It begins broadly and focuses to a point. What more nat- 
ural therefore than to arrange our word-picture, — ^which 



must be a reproduction of our visual picture — in the same 
order in which we actually see it? 

We shall have then in our descriptive composition plan 
two main divisions,— one setting forth a general view and 
one setting forth a particular or detailed view. The first 
of these divisions is sometimes called The Glance, tie- 
cause it represents about as much, with about as much 
accuracy, as we see when we glance at an object momen- 
tarily and then look away. The second division is some- 
times called The Detail (or Details), because here we re- 
cord what we see on closer and continued study. Now, 
bearing in mind these two grand divisions of ouf method 
of seeing, and therefore of our method of writing about 
what we see, we must also understand what proportion 
exists between the two parts. Immediately we have 
glanced at a thing and have fixed its general outlines in 
our minds, we begin to study it more closely, if we con- 
tinue to look at it at all. We do not tarry long with 
the general view because our eyes will not allow us to 
do so. By the very nature of their organization they in- 
sist upon going into the details of the pigture or turning 
to something else. They must scrutinize more and more ' 
minutely every instant they gaze at the thing which at 
first they saw only casually. Our glance or general view 
will therefore be much briefer than our particular or 
detailed view, because, as we understand from the 
above, it is the natural method for it to follow. More- 
over, our descriptive plan should be topical or phrasal ; 
and just as the verb is par excellence the narrative part 
of speech, so the adjective is the descriptive part of 

With this much information in mind, then, let us ex- 
pand our picture of the field into a plan : — 


I. General view 

1. Size — large 

2. Shape — square 

3. Color — yellow 

Now as we concentrate upon it and study it more and 
more carefully, the contents of the field will dawn upon our 
vision in some regular order, from the larger to the 
smaller, from the more striking to the less' striking. The 
generalized view will not only become particularized, but 
all around and about it new objects will loom into view, 
and the record of what we now see may be set down in 
some such fashion as this : — 

II. Particular view 

1. Wheat 

a. very ripe 

b. large quantity 

c. partly standing 

d. partly shocked 

2. Men 

a. at reaping 

b. at binding 

3. Boys 

a. carrying sheaves 

4. Two dogs 

This represents then the order in which we would see the 
field and its contents. 

We must understand now another element in descrip- 
tion: namely. The Impression we get from the picture, the 
person, the scene, or the object that we are portraying. 
Rarely do we see anything that we are not in some way 
impressed by it. So in writing a word-picture we will 
state at the conclusion briefly just what impression is made 
upon us, and we will therefore be stating indirectly just 


what impression we hope we have made upon the reader in 
our composition. There will be danger doubtless of our 
confusing the impression with the purpose or the gfence. 
The three are, however, distinctly different one from an- 
other, and we must bear the difference in mind carefully,. 
so that we shall not repeat in our impression what we 
have stated previously in the purpose or glance. The pur- 
pose tells exactly what our object is in writing the com- 
position, what we are going to show or prove; the glance, 
let us repeat, states just what we see, looking for the 
first time at the object we are describing; the impression 
states what feeling the whole gives to us after our having 
shown something about it, after our having seen it. The 
impression is further different from the glance in that it 
is a glance within ourselves, as it were, after we have 
viewed a thing fully. If we close our eyes for a moment 
and study the image that arises in connection with the 
scene we have just witnessed, we shall not be far from 
the true impression we have received. If we have been 
going through a home, its comfort may have impressed 
us; if through an office building, its convenience; if 
through a battleship, its equipment, its strength, or its 
solidity. But the general view or glance of all of these 
is a distinctly different thing. It cannot be nearly so 
complete or conclusive with an object in describing which 
we have been obliged to move from place to place. We 
cannot of course see all 6f the thing at^once, but our 
glance in such a case must give as much as can be seen, 
or must deduce, from seeing a part, what the whole is like. 
Now, we are prepared to complete our plan, including in 
it all the elements of simple description: 



I. Point of View : From one side of the field 
II. Purpose: To show the spirit of the harvest 

III. Glance : 

1. Size — large 

2. Shape — square 

3. Color — ^yellow 

IV. betails: 

1. Wheat 

a. very ripe 

b. large quantity 

c. partly standing 

d. partly shocked 

2. Men 

a. at reaping 

b. at binding 

3. Boys 

a. carrying sheaves 

4. Two dogs 

a. looking for mice 

V. Impression: Industry, thrift, and happiness 

This represents the most common type of descriptive 
writing, taking, as it does, the word-picture directly from 
the eye-picture of the scene viewed, and consisting of 
these five grand divisions in the proportion indicated by 
the spacing: — 

I. Point of View 

II. Purpose 

III. Glance 

IV. Detail 

V. Impression 


In viewing a certain scene or person or object it is 
quite natural that our attention may be arrested by some- 
thing peculiar, by something that stands out as distinct and 
tmique. In such a case we should be justified in giving 
our first attention to that striking feature because our 
eye is naturally caught by it first. If, in the middle of 
our field, there had been a huge steam-thresher, we should 
of course have seen it at once, and we should have gath- 
ered up with our eyesight all the remaining details of the 
field as a sort of fringe to this central figure. The con- 
tents of our plan, then, recording our view of the field, 
would be somewhat different. The glance and the details 
would have a changed content and proportion. In fact, 
we might dispense with these names altogether perhaps, 
and proceed by means of an informal outline follow- 
ing the descriptive sequence of development. We will re- 
vise our plan of the field to meet the new conditions ; first, 
using the descriptive plan ; second, using the informal plan. 
The title, the point of view, the purpose and the impres- 
sion, all remaining the same as in our previous plan, will 
not be repeated: 

III. Glance 

1. Huge engine and machine 

2. Much smoke and noise 

3. Large piles of straw and grain 

IV. Details 

I. Around the engine 

a. Feeding the grain 

b. Taking away the Straw 

c. The number of laborers 

d. The noise and bustle 


2. Other parts of field 

a. Wheat standing 

b. Wheat shocked 

c. Reapers and binders 

d. The carriers 

e. The watchful dogs 

V. Impression 


I. The huge engine 

II. The scene about it 

III. The scene elsewhere 







IV. The spirit of the field 


Both forms of plan are good. Both proceed from the 
general to the particular. Both consistently 'and regu- 
larly develop the picture. But the striking figure in the 
picture has more or less reversed our order of procedure. 
In our first "description of the field we saw at first every- 


thing in a general way and then focused on each particu- 
lar object more minutely. In our second description we 
focused on a particular thing at once, because it im- 
pressed us at once, and then we proceeded to the descrip- 
tion of the othei* things in the field. We took the large 
and noticeable thing as our center first and then radiated 
from this in every direction about the field. 

It is necessary that we understand a little better than 
was explained in Chapter VII just what is meant by Point 
of View in its application to description. It was hinted 
there that point of view in description means the place 
from which we view an object. This is the point of view 
of position and the kind of point of view that, we shall 
most commonly have to use in our descriptions. But it 
often happens that, when we look at a thing, we move 
closer to it as we study it, or perhaps we are obliged to 
walk around it to get a complete view of it. In such 
cases we have what is known as moving point of view. 
In planning, as well as in writing a descriptive composition 
in which we make use of a moving point of view, we 
should always inform the reader, by some word or phrase, 
of the time and place of change, and, in some instances also, 
why the position is changed. 

Suppose now that in our study of this field we became 
so interested that we changed our position frequently. 
From our first point of view, on one side of the field, we 
took in a general view of it. But after a brief glance 
about, we walked over to the engine perhaps and went 
completely around it. Then perhaps we walked to the 
standing wheat to examine that. From here we may have 
proceeded to the shocks, to the workers and, last, to the 
dogs. The effect of thus changing our point of view in 
the field would be simply to give us a closer, more de- 


tailed view of each separate part or object. Perhaps there 
is not so much to be gained by changing one's point of 
view in the examination of something all of which can 
be seen at once. But in describing the exterior or the 
interior of a home, all of which cannot of course be seen 
at. once, this moving about from place to place is most 
necessary. From no single point shall we be able to see 
all of a house, whether we are to describe the inside or 
the outside of it. If describing the interior we must pass 
from room to room; if the exterior, we must walk all 
around it. Let us now examine an outline based upon 
such a moving point of view : 


I. Point of View: From the entrance, moving through the 

house back to the entrance 

II. Purpose: to show the irregularity of the interior of an 

old English mansion 

III. Glance : 

1. Low and expansive 

2. Plain and substantial 
, 3. Tastefully furnished 

IV. Details : 

A. Downstairs 

1. Entrance hall and stairs 

a. Broad 

b. Well-lighted 

c. Easy lounge 

2. Drawing-room, up two steps to right of en- 


a. Many windows 

b. Well-furnished 
C. Piano 


3. Parlor, down one step to left of entrance 

a. Six windows, beautifully curtained 

b. Extremely large 

c. Fine paintings 

d. Elegantly furnished 

4. Dining-room, rear of hall, down one step from 

parlor and drawing-room 

a. Mahogany table 

b. Trophies of hunt 

c. Magnificent plate 

5. Kitchen, rear of dining hall, up one step 

a. Rows of well-scoured pots and pans 

b. Immense stove 

c. Large table 

d. Pantry to right 
B. Upstairs 

1. Red room, head of stairs, over dining-room 

2. Blue room, up two steps from hall, over draw- 


3. Green room, down one step from hall, over 


4. Small hall 

a. From great hall 

b. To bath-room, over kitchen 

V. Impression : It gives one the impression of being the home 
of refined, well-to-do, old-fashioned people. 

We may also have a personal point of view in descrip- 
tion, though usually it is not expressed. But it must be 
clear to us that a farmer viewing a field would see it in 
a somewhat different light from an artist, though both of 
them view it from the same place. The same difference 
will be found to exist in the treatment of almost any sub- 
ject from two or more personal standpoints. We need 
express this, however, only when we feel that we would 
like to present our picture through some particular view 


in order better to bring out its qualities. Mostly, in writ- 
ing description, we shall do well to confine ourselves to 
the layman's point of view, as most of us will doubtless be 
viewing objects in a general way for general purposes. 
If, in addition to this view, however, we can add a special 
point of view, our work will be the more definite for our 
doing so. 

It occurs time and time again that we are obliged to 
group our description of a person about some central 
point iij^^his appearance that is striking, just as we did with 
the ^gine in the field. Whatever there may be about 
him that is striking we take first, and gather around 
it those features that are much the same as in other 
people. Thus we remember Higg the son of Snell in 
Scott's Ivanhoe for his lameness; we remember Ichabod 
Crane in Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow for his thin- 
ness and lankness; we remember certain peculiarities about 
our friends, about buildings, and about scenes first, be- 
cause these impressed or "struck" us first, and we use them 
about which to construct the remaining details by means 
of which we build up a whole and complete picture. "He 
is a hunch-back", "That man is a cripple", "He has a 
treacherous eye", "I don't like his large, square jaw", and 
other similar expressions that we hear made about people 
indicate centers of description for us easily to designate 
whom we refer to. We may illustrate such a personal 
description as follows : 



I. Point of View : 

1. Position 

a. Directly in front of him 

2. Personal 

a. Curious spectator at theater 

II. Purpose: To show the extraordinary smallness of the man 

III. Glance : 

1. Size 

a. Extremely short 

b. Features proportionately small 

c. Like a child in appearance 

2. Color 

3. Clothing 

IV. Details : 

1. Physique 

a. Height in feet and inches 

b. Weight, approximately 

c. Strength, approximately 

d. Smallness probably a deformity 

2. Features all small 

a. Head 

b. Face 

c. Nose 

d. Ears 

e. Mouth 

f. Neck 

3. Arms and legs 

4. Body 

a. Small 

b. Thin 

V. Impression : Reminded me of one of the pigmies in GuUi- 
ver^s Travels 

On the other hand, when there is no abnormal or strik- 
ingly characteristic thing about people, we shall find that 



they are described by the best authors in a regular, some- 
times monotonous, way. They will commence, as we have 
done in our plans, with a general view and then take up 
in detail the features, either from head to foot, or in 
some other quite systematic manner ; thus : — 



Point of View: — A few feet in front of subject 


Purpose: — To show what an excellent type of man he is 



Glance : — 

I. Size 

2. Color 

3. Clothing 


Details : — 


I. Head 

2. Neck 

3. Shoulders 

4. Arms 

S- Body 

6. Legs 

7. Feet 


Impression : — 

I. A vigorous, healthy, well-developed man 

Scott's description of Quentin Durward, Cooper's de- 
scription of David Gamut in The Last of the Mohicans, 
are excellent examples of such a method of describing per- 
sons. The plan above can of course be made much more 
detailed by the insertion of descriptive adjectives after 
each topic. 

We may compare the two methods of description dis- 
cussed so far with the picture an artist would paint of some 
group of people. If he wished to bring out some striking 



situation, such as a tableau in a drama or an opera, he 
would place the character or characters participating in it 
in the foreground of his picture, arranging all the others 
in the background. If on the other hand he were paint- 
ing the characters as grouped for a photograph, not rep- 
resenting their several parts or any particular situation, he 
would strive to give to one as much light and prominence 
as to another. 

Thus far we have confined our study almost entirely 
to the form of outline to be used in building up a descrip- 
tion,' and this is our main business. But we must also 
consider briefly the different kinds of description in order 
that we may understand how our descriptive plans should 
vary according as we are writing one kind or another. 

The simplest type of description is that we have just 
dealt with; namely, the description that pictures anything 
in the natural way by means of words among which ad- 
jectives predominate. We may call this, for purposes of 
convenience, simple description. In it, as we have seen, we 
always report directly what we have witnessed through 
the agency of our senses and we make that report in the 
simplest, most straightforward language we know. We 
must select adjectives that have accurate application ; verbs 
that have descriptive value, such as, rustle, scream^ strug- 
gle, gurgle, etc.; nouns that are not only the names of 
things, but that describe those things in part also at the 
same time, such as effort, blood, home, castle, rapids, etc. ; 
and adverbs that describe as well as define action, such as 
roughly, stealthily, greedily, ferociously, etc. Nowhere is 
the careful selection of words so important for us as 
in writing description. Here, as nowhere else, we must 
refuse to rest until we have found the inevitable word, the 
word that exactly dovetails with an accurate picture of 


the scene we are trying to depict. Here, too, we must 
give our senses full play. We may be inclined at first to 
think that seeing is our whole concern in equipping our- 
selves to picture things. It is very important indeed, but 
it is by no means to be used to the exclusion of hearing, 
feeling, smelling, and tasting. We must hear a, sound 
before we can describe it ; we must feel the brier before we 
can tell just exactly what its prick is like; we must smell 
the new-mown hay if we would describe its odor to an- 
other; and we must taste our food before we can tell 
others whether it is bitter or sweet. Of course seeing may 
help in all of these processes. More, all of our senses 
may be galled into play in the description of a single situa- 
tion ; or any two or three of them may be required in com- 
bination, the others not being necessary for a complete un- 
derstanding of it; and often our sight alone is all that is 
necessary to the full and effective description of a scene 
or object. We must therefore learn to give our senses 
full and free rein and then to search untiringly until we 
find words that adequately express what they experience. 
The youngster who said, "Ice-cream soda tastes like a 
.sneeze feels," did both of these things pretty accurately, 
if somewhat crudely. In simple description, then, we 
transfer directly to paper, by means of especially chosen 
words, the picture of a scene or object or person exactly 
as we sense it. Our descriptions above of the field and 
of the person are simple descriptions. Of course the care- 
ful choosing of our words and the full play and interpre- 
tation of sense impression are necessary in all description, 
but, because simple description is the most common and 
the type which most of us will be called upon to write 
most often, it is particularly important that we bear them 
in mind in this QonnQction. 


A second kind of description is description by means of 
comparison. Here, in order to make another person see 
the picture we are portraying as we have seen it, we com- 
pare the object to be described to something that the other 
person has seen and thus make it easier for him to grasp 
the picture. We are constantly making use of such com- 
parisons in our conversation and writing. Some one asks 
us whom John looks like. We reply by saying that 
he resembles Bill. We thus compare John, whom our 
inquirer has never seen, to Bill, whom he has seen, and 
therefore give him the best possible idea of John's appear- 
ance. "He swims like a fish", "she sings like a bird", 
"they dance like fairies", and the hundred other compari- 
sons we make daily use of, are descriptions by means of 
comparison. They are of course similes, the simile being 
the simplest figure of comparison. We cannot do better 
than identify this figure closely with comparative descrip- 
tion, for we can always use it to advantage when we ^re 
concerned with giving another a picture of something he 
has never seen. 

But we must employ not only the short simile, such as 
those just used; we must also use the sustained or con- 
tinued or lengthened simile if we would be absolutely clear. 
It may not be enough to say that a house is shaped like 
the letter L. An extended comparison of the house with 
the letter L will bring out clearly that the entrance is, 
perhaps, in the angle; that the kitchen is located at the 
top of the letter; that the dining-room is between the 
kitchen and the entrance hall; that the large living-room 
is situated to the right of the entrance on the lower hook 
of the letter. Such comparisons as this are common in 
literature. With the slightest cultivation of inventiveness 
we can find a suitable sustained comparison for almost any- 


thing we are called upon to describe. We have many 
numbers and many letters at our command, and we have 
no end of other material in our minds from which we 
can, with a little thought, draw apt comparison and illus- 
tration. We should not deny our work this little thought, 
for just in so far as it is made clear by shrewd and clever 
illustration will it be enriched. 

We see, however, that such description is more or less 
involved; that it is not simple and direct, but that it is 
somewhat complex and roundabout. We may not picture 
the thing itself at all, but rather something that it is like, 
in order that it may be pictured with very approximate 
closeness. We may in summary state the method in a 
somewhat equational form as follows : — 

John has seen X but has never seen Y. 
I have seen X and Y both. 

Therefore, I give John a good idea of Y by comparing 
Y with X. 

The third type of description is description by effects; 
the description of a person, place, or thing, that is, by tell- 
ing how one is affected by that person, place, or thing. 
This is still further removed from simple description than 
comparative description is. It has a minimum of descrip- 
tion, if any, about the thing to be described, whereas the 
simple description has a maximum, and the comparative 
description contains an indirect picturing of it. But in de- 
scription by effects we may say practically nothing about 
the thing we are describing, giving all of our attention 
rather to the effect of the object upon others. We may 
write many pages about how we were affected by a certain 
noise, or sight, or odor, without giving anything but the 
mere name of the noise, the sight, or the odor. The great 


beauty of Helen of Troy was described, not by telling the 
colors of her eyes and hair, — these would have been petty 
details indeed in dealing with such beauty, — ^but rather by 
telling what effect her beauty had upon others. We our- 
selves doubtless have often, in our account of some scene 
we have witnessed, dwelt at greater length upon the effects 
of the scene upon us than upon the actual details of the 
scene itself. In such description we tell how we feel under 
given conditions or surroundings, and those to whom we 
are talking are thus enabled to get an accurate idea of 
those conditions. 

But in description by means of effects we are not con- 
fined to telling how we ourselves are affected by any par- 
ticular thing. We may strengthen the description by deal- 
ing with the effect of our subject upon many others besides 
ourselves, — upon other people, upon animals, perhaps, or 
upon things. Thus a certain person sitting in a room may 
make the room seem cold, may cause the canary to stop 
singing, may cast a reserve over everybody and everything. 
Perhaps we remember how, when Godfrey and Dunstan 
Cass have their first quarrel in George Eliot's Silas Mar- 
ner, before any word is spoken between them, the pet 
dog of their home gets up from his comfortable place, 
looks at both of them pityingly, and then leaves the room. 

Now, this same thing is allowable and often desirable in 
comparative description as well. We are always at liberty 
to multiply the number of our comparisons of any given 
subject, and need not confine ourselves to any particular 
one. To describe a house clearly, by means of comparison, 
we may have to take the subject up in sections, comparing 
each section to a letter or a figure, or something else, thus 
making our description composite. Again, both of these 
types of description may be presented in a negative way. 




We may accent the effect a certain thing has upon us by 
telling, first, in what ways we were not affected by it. In 
seeing the ocean for the first time, for instance, it may be 
that we were impressed not so much by the size of it, nor 
by its constant roar, nor yet by its salty odor and its soft 
damp breezes upon our cheeks. It may not have im- 
pressed us by any one of these perhaps. It may have been 
the sum total of all of them that struck us, or it may have 
been that the feeling of insuperable and uncontrollable 
power which came over -lis at the first sight of the ocean 
was the one and only effect that it had upon us. In com- 
parison also we may dwell at length upon telling what a 
thing is not like. If, for instance, we are describing some- 
thing that is perfectly unique, in and of itself, we can 
best bring out that uniqueness by first enumerating the 
many things that it is not like. To illustrate, — in describ- 
ing a pair of skis we may quite properly commence by 
saying that they are not like skates ; that thay are different 
from sleds; that they are not quite like sled runners; that 
they are dissimilar to snow-shoes ; that, in short, they have 
a character all their own. And in all such cases as this, 
as we studied in exposition, our description can be helped 
by marginal drawings. 

Furthermore, it may be helpful and necessary some- 
times, especially in long descriptions, to combine all of the 
different types of description in order to bring out lucidly 
the complete picture or series of pictures which is tp be 
portrayed. We can easily find examples of such combina- 
tion description in the short poems and stories we have read 
in school. And of course the three methods are always to 
be found in combination in long novels, and in history. 
When we have,occasion so to combine them, we should as 
a rule commence our writing with a simple description of 


the object, then proceed to the comparative form, and con- 
clude with description by effects. This is the best pro- 
cedure because of the fact that the more complex t3^e 
should not be placed before the reader at the outset of his 
reading, and also because it is the most natural method of 

Now the planning of description by comparison and 
scription by effects is the same in general as that of sim|. 
description. We follow either the natural order, or we 
take the most striking thing at the beginning and group 
other details about it. If it is a comparison we wish to 
draw, we can make the general comparison at once, and 
then follow it out minutely, as we did with the letter L 
a moment ago; if we wish to deal with the effects, we may 
give the general effect or the most striking one at first 
and then proceed as we did in the simple description of the 
wheat field. Moreover, we may describe certain subjects 
by any or by all of the three types of description, accord- 
ing as we wish to impress our reader. If our purpose b 
simply to give a clear and truthful picture of the subject, 
we must proceed by simple description. If we wish to 
make a subject clear to one who knows absolutely nothing 
about it, we shall do well to introduce some comparison 
into our work. If we want to create strong vivid feeling 
in our reader, such as respect, fear, horror, or the like, we 
may proceed by means of effects with good reason. 

In conclusion let us examine the three following out- 
lines, all dealing with the same subject, but each represent- 
ing a different type of description from the other. We see 
that, using the same subject, we may have more than one 
style of description developed from it. Usually the pur- 
pose will tell us what kind of description we are going to 
have, but the content should indicate it as well. 



(Remember that all subjects should be limited by Point 
of View and Purpose.) 

I. Plan and write simple descriptions on the fol- 
lowing topics : — 

A Mountain I Have Seen The News-stand at the Comer 

Our Yard The Old Spring-House 

The Seashore The Railroad Station 

The Gymnasium Tom Smith, Conductor 

Our Classroom The Avenue 

11. Plan and write a description on each of the fol- 
lowing topics, in each case grouping the description around 
some peculiar or distinctive feature : — 

The Beggar The Gnarled Oak 

My Dog Prince The Shower 

A Peculiar House A Formidable Policeman 

Evans, the Night Watchman A Surly Boss 

The Mascot Casey, Expert Batsman 

III. Plan and write a comparative (description on 
each of the following, as if for one totally unacquainted 
with the subject : — 

An Automobile The^Monument 

A Trolley Car My Room 

A Fire Engine 

IV. Plan and write a description of effects on each 
of the following : — 

The Waterfall The Prison 

The Park in Winter The Cripple 

Jack, After His Fight 


V. Plan and write a description of one of your 
classmates, using a fictitious name for him, and aiming at 
having it so true that the others, on hearing it read, can tell 
who is meant. 

VI. Plan and write a description of the scene briefly 
sketched below. First, state the simple details; then, com- 
pare the scene with something; and then, tell what effect it 
had upon you or upon others. 

There has been a great railroad accident. A few have been 
killed, many injured, and many badly shocked. Cars are wrecked ; 
bodies are lying prone; people are looking for loved ones; fore- 
men and attendants are busying themselves with attempts to clear 
up the awful scene. 

VII. Plan and write a description of some picture 
that is in your room, or of one that you have seen else- 
where. Try to follow the same plan that you think the 
artist followed in painting it. 

VIII. Plan and write a simple description of each of 
the following: — 

The Postman The Teacher 

The Milkman The Shoemaker 

The Grocer 

IX. Imagine each of the persons named in Exercise 
VIII to have some peculiarity. Plan a description center- 
ing around this peculiarity in each case. 

X. Plan and write a negative description of some 
rare and wonderful thing or sight it has been your privilege 
to see. Make use of comparison or of effects, or of both. 

XL Select good descriptive passages frorh your 
reading and outline them. Explain which type (or types) 
of description they illustrate. 


XII. Draw up three plans for each of the following 
subjects, one for each kind of description. Then select 
one of the titles and make a single descriptive plan for it 
in which you employ all three types to some degree. 

The Huckster The Parade 

The Pedlar The Crowd at the Open-air Con- 

The Ocean Liner cert 

The Crowded Car 



We have often doubtless disagreed with our friends in 
our conversation with them. They have contended that 
certain things are true; we have contended perhaps that 
these things are not true but that their opposite is true. 
Thus disagreeing, we have proceeded in our conversation 
until one of us was persuaded to the view of the other, or 
both of us gave up all hope of agreement. Such a con- 
versation is called a debate or an argument. We are 
said to be debating or arguing with our friends when we 
disagree with them and try to win them over to our view. 
When we argue thus about such casual topics as come up 
in daily conversation, our argument is an Informal one. 
In this chapter, however, we have to reckon more particu- 
larly with formal argument, — argument, that is, that is 
centered around a definitely set question with definitely 
chosen sides and debaters assigned. Informal or conver- 
sational debate is nevertheless a most valuable training for 
us and we should never fail to turn a wholesome disagree- 
ment with our friends into an opportunity for improving 
ourselves in this important form of discourse. The power 
to win others over to our way of thinking on the spur of 
the moment, without any definite preparation, is admittedly 
the most enviable possession a man can have. It can be 
cultivated nowhere to better advantage than in polite and 
dignified or^l controversies with our fellows. Keen atten- 



tion and interpretation, wide reading, and a fair attitude 
toward others are, to be sure, necessary attributes in any 
kind of a debate, not only for the sake of courtesy and 
consideration toward our opponents, but for our own suc- 
cess and benefit in the argument as well. 

The title of a formal argument is called the Proposi- 
tion or the Question. It is usually preceded by the word 
or words, "Resolved", "Be it resolved", or "Let it be re- 
solved". A complete title then would read as follows : — 

Resolved: That football should be discontinued in our 

We observe" by the way, of course, that "Resolved" is fol- 
lowed by a colon (or it may be a comma) and that the 
first word in the proposition, "That", is capitalized. 

Such questions as the one just used for illustration lend 
themselves to two lines of consideration; first,. there will be 
those who will maintain that football should be discon- 
tinued and who thus agree with the question ; second, there 
will be those who will argue that it should not be discon- 
tinued, and who thus disagree with the question. The 
first will argue what is known as the Affirmative side; the 
second will argue what is known as the Negative. The 
affirmative, in other words, agrees with or affirms the 
proposition-. The negative disagrees with or negatives the 
proposition as stated; inserts the word "not" into it, and 
proceeds to argue against the question as originally framed. 
We must exercise great care in keeping this distinction 
clear. It may happen, for instance, that the question will 
be negatively stated in its original form ; thus : — 

Resolved: That football should not be continued in our 


This form of question is always somewhat more confusing 
than one in which the word "not" is not used, but the 
rule of affirmative and negative above stated is applicable 
in the same way here. Those who argue that football 
should not be continued are on the affirmative side of the 
question. Those who argue that it should be continued 
are on the negative. The sides remain the same therefore 
as in debating the former proposition, but the different 
form of statement used makes the situation a little more 
complicated, a little more difficult to understand. The 
negative here, however, as elsewhere, is determined by the 
insertion of "not". In the present proposition the inser- 
tion of this word will give us a double negative, which, we 
know very well, is equivalent to a positive form of ex- 

Resolved: That football should NOT not-be-continued in 
our schools. 

We can always be sure, therefore, to "find" the negative 
statement by the use of "not", however awkwardly it may 
make the question read. And for this purpose, as for all 
others in this connection, a clear and exact understanding 
of the phraseology of the proposition must always be had 
before we can properly proceed with the debate. 

Thus far then we see that argument is somewhat dis- 
tinct from the other forms of composition we have studied, 
in that it uses a different terminology for its parts. We 
have seen that the title is called the question or the propo- 
sition ; that this title is stated in a certain formal way ; and 
that it is divisible always into two sides or parts, the affirm- 
ative and the negative. There is another new and very 
important name to be learned in connection with argument ; 
namely, Brief, the name given to the plan or outline of an 


argument. It has its origin in a classical Latin word, 
breve, which means a short catalogue or summary. In law, 
where it is most commonly used in connection with plan- 
ning cases, it means the summary of a part or of the whole 
of a case. "To take a brief" means that a lawyer ac- 
cepts the conduct of a case; "to hold a brief" means that 
he is retained as counsel. The word is, moreover, used as 
an infinitive and as a participle, — "to brief a case", or 
"briefing an argument". 

In drawing up the brief for an argument we are espe- 
cially confined to the formal type of plan. It is in the 
brief that the formal divisions, — introduction, discussion, 
conclusion, — come into their fullest and best inheritance. 
In arguing with and before people it is most important 
clearly to define the terms of the question upon which the 
debate is based; to present our arguments in a systematic 
and forceful way; and to leave upon the audience a last- 
ing, and, if possible, convincing, final word. When a law- 
yer has a case to argue, he draws up an elaborate brief in 
which he makes absolutely certain that he has covered 
these three points. His audience (the jurymen) must first 
understand the question upon which they have to decide; 
otherwise, no matter how excellent the arguments pre- 
sented or how appealing and convincing his final words, 
they can come to no fair decision. The brief for an argu- 
ment should therefore contain the three formal divisions: 
the introduction to define the words in the question that 
need defining, to state clearly how and why the question 
arises, what our position is and how we are going to pro- 
ceed; the discussion to set forth a well-organized, well- 
arranged order of argument, material for which has been 
summoned by previous study and with which we com- 
pletely surround the question ; the conclusion or "summing 


up" to review the strongest arguments presented and to 
appeal emphatically for favorable decision on the ground 
of their irrefutability. 

In the proportion of these parts it is clear that, as 
usual, the bulk of our brief will be taken up with the dis- 
cussion, and it is well that we should study carefully how 
to order an array of arguments after we have all the ma- 
terial for them in our hands. At the outset of our discus- 
sion we should always place an argument or two of a strik- 
ing nature with which to catch and "clinch" the attention 
of the audience and to startle our opponents. Such an 
argument is sometimes called a "snap" argument, or an 
argument of impression. It shbuld always be brief, but 
decidedly to the point. We have seen in our study of Em- 
phasis that the beginnihg and the end of a piece of writing 
are the emphatic portions of it. This holds never more 
strictly than in the discussion of an argumentative brief. 
We open therefore with a short, terse, striking argument. 
In the middle of our discussion we present all those argu- 
ments of conditions and circumstances touching upon the 
question which cannot be omitted from any complete con- 
sideration of it, yet which are not all of first importance. 
These should be arranged from the least to the most valu- 
able. After we have fully surrounded our subject, after 
we have touched upon every phase or manifestation of it, 
we proceed to conclude our discussion with the strongest 
arguments in our possession. These important final argu- 
ments are those from authority and experience. They are 
considered the two most irrefutable types of argument a 
debater can present. He may here substantiate his position 
and all he has said in support of it by quoting from some 
recognized authority who is in accord with his View. The 
quotation of statistics in proof is also a weighty arg^ument 

; - 


from authority, if we are dealing with a question to which 
statistics can be applied. We may also deduce an argument 
of equal atrength from our own experience or from the ex- 
perience of those who have successfully put into operation 
the thing for which we are contending in the debate. If we 
ourselves have seen or experienced anything that directly 
corroborates our view of the proposition, we may cite it of 
course as irrefutable. Generally considered then, the 
skeleton or brief for an argument should be developed 
along the following lines : — 

Resolved: That .... (state the question) 

I. Introduction 

1. Source of question 

2. Importance of question 

3. Definition of terms 

4. Selection and rejection of material according to 

side or position 

5. If more than one debater, explanation of divi- 

sion of material or order of argument 

11. Discussion 

1. Arguments of impression 

a. First "snap" argument 

b. Second "snap" argument 

2. Arguments of condition and circumstance 

a. First argument 

b. Second argument 

c. Third argument 

d. Fourth argument 


3. Arguments of emphasis 

a. Argument from authority 

b. Argument from experience 

III. Conclusion 

1. Summary of argument 

2. Conviction and appeal 



There are two kinds of debate, — single debate and team 
debate. By single debate we mean a formal debate be- 
tween not more than two people, representing respectively 
negative and affirmative sides of the question. Each de- 
bater, consequently, in a single debate, is obliged to handle 
all the arguments for his side of the question. The plan 
for both negative and affirmative should follow that pre- 
sented above. The whole argument of either side being 
in one person's hands, he is at liberty to arrange his points 
in the order in which he thinks he can make them most 
effective. In the actual presentation of the argumentative 
speech before an audience the affirmative speaker always 
precedes the negative. It is possible therefore that the 
second, or negative, speaker may, after he has heard the 
arguments of his opponent, have to rearrange his plan 
somewhat and thus violate the order established above, in 
order to meet new situations with which the affirmative 
speaker has. confronted or surprised him. Of course a well- 
prepared debater will have foreseen all possible surprises in 
his preparation, and will not therefore be embarrassed by 
being obliged to reform his line of battle after the firing 
has begun. And it must not be assumed that, because the 
first, or affirmative, speaker has defined the question and 
given points as to its source and importance, the negative 
speaker may omit the introduction from his argument. He 
needs to define the terms of the question as he, the negative 
speaker, sees them; he needs to discuss the source and im- 
portance of the proposition from the negative point of view. 
The two introductions may be similar in many or most re- 
spects ; on the other hand, they may be significantly different 
and the real argument may need to begin at the very first 
point in the introduction. The decision of a great public 
debate once hinged almost entirely upon the definition of 


the word "adjacent" in its relation to the idea intended by 
the question. 

A single debate, then, is bred of the conversational de- 
bate of which we read at the opening of the present chap- 
ter, the only difference between the two being, that; in- 
stead of informal and unsystematized conversation in con- 
versational debate, we have in single debate a formally 
stated question, an ordered array of argument, and an alter- 
nate, uninterrupted presentation of arguments for either 

By team argument we mean an argument in which 
four or more debaters participate, two or more on the 
affirmative, and two' or more on the negative. Here again 
the same plan or outline of material is followed. But a 
difficulty arises, perhaps, from the number of speakers. 
Usually one man is designated as the leader or "captain" 
of his team and he partitions or divides the arguments as- 
sembled into as many groups as there are speakers on his 
side, and assigns a speaker to each group. The best 
speaker, taking it for. granted that the speakers are of 
unequal ability, is usually assigned the last and most 
effective arguments, the last part of the debate being, as 
we have seen, the most emphatic part. If there be three 
debaters on the team, then a good speaker is also placed 
first on the program, this being another important place 
from the point of view of emphasis. The poorest speaker 
of the three should be assigned to the middle portion of 
the discussion, though it is hoped that in any debate in 
which we may have the pleasure of participating the speak- 
ers will be of almost "^qual ability so that this embarrassing 
matter of assignment according to ability will not arise. 
The actual apportionment is left entirely in the hands of 
the captain, who usually calls in the advice of the "coach" 


or instructor. He will always try to assign the parts of 
the argument equally in regard to time and material, all 
speakers being given equal periods of time in which to 
present their arguments. In the case of there being three 
men on the team, the first speaker may be assigned the 
introduction and the arguments of impression; tKe second, 
the arguments of conditions and circumstances; and the 
third, the arguments of emphasis and the conclusion. This 
arrangement presupposes of course that the three portions 
of the debate indicated are of about the same length. 
In case there are two or four men on the team, the parti- 
tion should be made in similarly equal divisions and the 
assignments made accordingly. 

The questions for single debate should of course be 
much simpler in form and narrower in possible scope than 
the questions for team debate. In the former, where only 
two people are pitted against each other, it would be re- 
quiring too much of the debaters to assign to them a broad, 
complex question. Moreover, it would be monotonous, not 
only for them but for the audience to which they speak, 
if they undertook to handle all the arguments of a large, 
comprehensive question. There are cases on record where 
a debater has been obliged to talk all day in order to 
exhaust his side of a proposition or case. This has some- 
times been the case in a lawyer's arguing before a jury, 
but it invariably happens that the lawyer has a number of 
silent assistants, — other lawyers, that is, who do his brief- 
ing in sections and watch closely all the details of the oppo- 
sing proceedings. But in our work, which is not yet so am- 
bitious in scope, we must select such questions as the fol- 
lowing for single debate: — 

Resolved : That the study of algebra is more important 
than that of English. 


Resolved: That our school periods should be sixty rather 
than forty minutes in length. 

Resolved: That two meals a day are all that are neces- 
sary for the average human being. 


We see at once that these questions are sufficiently simple 
to be covered completely by a single debater on each side, 
and yet not oblige him to speak at undue length. Their 
scope, in other words, is comparatively narrow by the side 
of such questions as these: 

Resolved : That women should be granted the suffrage. 
Resolved: That our course of study needs modification. 
Resolved: That the sale of intoxicating liquors should be 


We are at once impressed with the fact that these questions 
will probably be much more ably handled by at least two 
debaters on each side. Their scope is broader; they are 
vastly more general in their nature. 

The following question and brief for the negative show 
us that the possibilities of the question are quite within the 
range of a single debater : 


Resolved: That Our School Day, Which now Closes 
AT 2.30, Should Be Extended to 4 O'clock. 

I. Introduction 

A. Source of question 
I. Agitation as to 

a. per cent, of failure 

b. expenditures 

c. unused buildings 


B. Importance of question 

1. to parents 

2. to teachers 

3. to pupils 

C. Definition and explanation of terms 

1. "School day" 

2. "Closes" 

3. "Intermission" 

4. "Vacant" and "class perio'ds" 

II. Discussion 

A. Argument of impression 

I. Achievements of schools under present plan 

B. Arguments of condition and circumstance 

1. Opportunity offered now for outside work 


2. Health of pupils and teachers 


3. Fatigue resulting from prolonged enclosure in- 


C. Arguments of emphasis 

I. Authorities in hygiene say that five hour day- 
is best 


2. Citation of indifferent and detrimental results 
in schools where the experiment has 
been tried, and comparison with our own 





III. Conclusion 

A. Summary 

1. It has proved no better where tried 

2. It deprives of opportunity to earn money 

3. It imperils health 

4. The best authorities oppose it 

5. In many cases it has failed 

B. Therefore, it is our strong belief, as it must also 

now be yours, that an extension of school hours 
from 2.30 to 4 o'clock would be a decidedly bad 

But the material for the following question is so abun- 
dant, and the question itself of such wide importance that 
there should be at least two men to argue each side : — 


Resolved: That Capital Punishment Should Be Abol- 

I. Introduction: 

A. Source of question. 

B. Importance of question. 

C. Definition of terms : — 

1. "Capital punishment." 

a. Kinds. 

b. Status. 

2. "Abolished.'- 

D. Our position. 

E. Divisiort of material. 


II. Discussion: 

A. Punishment should always be remedial, but 

1. Capital punishment says, "Abandon hope", 

2. Dead man cannot be reformed, 

3. Society's failure is writ large. 

B. Capital punishment is 

1. Not protective and preventive, 

a. As many murders now as ever; 

2. Not retributive, 

a. Retribution a survival of savagery, 

b. "An eye for an eye" not good morality, 

c. State vengeance but little better than per- 

sonal vengeance; 

3. Not deterrent, 

a. Formerly the death penalty was paid for 

many other crimes, 

b. Those crimes have not increased as a result 

of discontinuance of capital punish- 

c. Its abolition has been deterrent probably; 

4. But debasing 

a. To society, 

b. To individuals, 

c. Particularly to young. 

C. Responsibility of society, 

1. To all its members, 

2. At all times, 

3. In spite of repeated failures. 

D. The abolition of capital punishment, 

I. Its effect, 

a. Might increase murder for a time, but 

b. Would lessen it in the long run (see II. 

C. 3). 

c. For it would increase respect for life. 

E. The horror of mistakes, 

1. No remedy or recompense possible, 

2. One mistake only should be sufficient to cause 



F. Moral sentiment rising, 

1. Becoming more difficult to convict, 

2. Frequent public protests, 

3. The question of hanging women, 

4. The appeals for pardons, 

5. The ethical consciousness of communities as- 

serting itself. 

G. Great principle of the sanctity of life, 

1. Of the criminal's life as well, 

2. Great dangers in all progress, 

3. If society would perfect herself, she must risk 

abolishing capital punishment, 

4. God's law — "Thou shalt not kill" — is also vio- 

lated by the gallows, 

5. Capital punishment is thus a crime against God. 

H. Authorities and experience, 

1. Great humanitarians, — 

a. All oppose capital punishment, 

2. Its abolition is making for good wherever it has 

taken place, — 

a. Statistics, 

b. The case of Italy. 

III. Conclusion: 

A. We have proved that 

1. Capital punishment is not remedial, 

2. It is not protective, preventive, retributive, de- 

terrent, but debasing, 

3. It is the duty of society to help all its members, 

4. The abolition of capital punishment would make 

for good, 

5. Frequent mistakes have awakened the ethical 

consciousness of communities, and 

6. People are coming to see not only the futility, 

but also the injustice of it, 

7. It constitutes a crime itself not alone against 

man, but against God, 

8. The moving spirits of all times have opposed it, 

and its abolition has made for good. 


B. Therefore, in view of these irrefutable arguments, we 
maintain that capital punishment should be abol- 


Resolved: That Capital Punishment Should Not Be 

I. Introduction 

A. Source of the question 

B. Importance of the question 

C. Definition of terms 

1. "Capital punishment" 

a. Kinds 

b. Status 

2. "Abolished" 

D. Our position 

E. Division of material 

II. Discussion 

A. Sanctity of life 

1. "Thou Shalt not kill" 

2. Killing that is not murder 

a. Self-defence 

b. War 

c. Legal execution 

B. Philosophy of the punishment 

1. It is protective 

2. It is preventive 

3. It is retributive 

4. It is deterrent 

C. Capital punishment best punishment for murderers 

1. Confinement expensive 

2. Reform unlikely 

3. Liberation dangerous 

4. Their lives and examples debasing 

* The pupil will note that one brief is punctuated fully yhile the 
other is unpunctuated. (See page 28.) 


D. Shall sentimentality decide 

1. Shall we shirk duty because unpleasant 

2. Is not all real discipline hard 

3. Shall we allow the publicity that has been given 

an occasional mistake to influence us 

K Reason demands capital punishment 

1. It is needed for safety of society 

2. The victim's soul cries out for vindication 

3. Justice utters her decree 

F. Experiments in other methods of punishment show 
necessity for it 
I. Statistics 

a. From states where it is abolished 

b. From states where it is in vogue 

c. Comparison 

III. Conclusion 

A. We have shown that 

1. The sanctity of life demands capital punishment 

2. It is justified by its effects 

3. Murderers are a menace to society 

4. Only sentimentality advocates its discontinuance 

5. Reason and experience have proved the necessity 

for it 

B. Therefore in the light of the overwhelming argu- 

ments we believe that capital punishment should not 
be abolished 

The discussion, here has not been divided into its three / 
divisions as defined above, only because it would have ne- 
cessitated another degree of subordination in a brief that 
was already sufficiently subordinated. The character of 
the various arguments is such, however, that, as will be seen, 
they fall naturally into these divisions. 

After the first speeches on both sides of a debate have 
been made, there is always opportunity given to each side 
to refute certain arguments that have been presented by the 


other. These after-arguments are called the Refutation or 
the Rebuttal. In the case of a team debate, usually only 
one man is allowed to speak in rebuttal. Which one this is 
to be is a matter to be settled among the debaters them- 
selves, though usually the rebuttal is made by the captain of 
the team. But a good speaker is naturally more than ever 
necessary at this point of the debate. It is customary for 
the debaters on one team to be permitted to confer with one 
another while those of the opposite side are speaking. This 
being the case, points for rebuttal can be gathered by all, 
though the presentation of them devolves upon but one. 
Now, the better the arguments have been prepared, the more 
untiring and exhaustive the members of the teams have been 
in gathering material and covering the field, the less need 
will there be for a refutation, the less opportunity will there 
be given for it. Every good debater will strive to foresee 
all the arguments of the opposite side. Just in so far as he 
is able thus to anticipate his opponents' line and substance 
of reasoning, will he be relieved of the difficulties of refuta- 
tion. No one is qualified to argue well on the affirmative 
of a question until he has thoroughly acquainted himself 
with the arguments of the negative side. This may seem 
paradoxical, but after we have participated in several de- 
bates we will perhaps better understand its truth. Expert 
knowledge of both sides of the argumeut plus strong con- 
viction for the one argued, usually equals success in de- 

But it is rare indeed that our foresight can be so suc- 
cessful as to make refutation unnecessary. Usually we 
shall find that we have failed to foresee everything, espe- 
cially in a complex question, or that the opposing de- 
baters have made misstatements, have lacked accurate in- 
formation, or have misunderstood or misinterpreted our 


own arguments. Such faults as these we must of course 
deal with in our rebuttal. And this rebuttal will in very 
large measure have to be extemporaneous, except in so 
far as notes have been made during the course of the de- 
bate, which may be used for guidance. The order of the 
reply should be arranged along the same general lines as 
that of the discussion; that is, we should proceed from the 
less to the more emphatic, bearing in mind here, as we did 
in our discussion, that our opening words in rebuttal should 
be striking, but tactful and winning. Never, however, must 
we resort to cruelty or insult in our remarks, no matter 
how much we may be tempted to do so or how inviting an 
opportunity we may seem to have. Debaters frequently 
make this very serious mistake and, as a result, quite jusriy 
lose a great deal by it. Our plan for rebuttal, then, should 
deal with the points above enumerated in the following 
order : — 

1. Misstatements and misinterpretations 

2. Omissions 

3. Misinformation or lack of information 

4. Reference to our own formal summary, as yet un- 


Point 4 is in most cases a matter of repetition. If, how- 
ever, our opponents have given us little to refute, we can, 
if we are alert to the situation thus created, make an ex- 
cellent point of rebuttal by reminding the audience that 
such is the case, and that our opponents have left nothing 
for us to do but to reinforce our previous arguments which 
they have left unanswered. The point of courtesy will 
serve to particular advantage here. We have often doubt- 
less been embarrassed for a speaker (though he himself 
has not been) on hearing him hurl epithets of sarcasm 
at his opponents in rebuttal. This, we must again insist. 


should never be allowed. Politeness and courtesy toward 
an opponent will always impress an audience much more 
favorably than rudeness of ever so slight a quality. There 
is no objection to wholesome fun and humor; no objec- 
tion to turning an opponent's argument gently into an ab- 
surdity, if it can be done; but we must be careful always 
to differentiate between "making*" ftm of" and "fun 

We have learned already (Chapter XI) that the four 
types of composition may be intermixed, that indeeiS no 
one of them often, if ever, occurs alone. Argtiment would 
seem to be the clearing house of the four, for here we 
find them working together much more frequently than 
elsewhere. A debate is a composite form of composition 
in which exposition, narration, and description all con- 
spire, along with argument, to make a point, to establish 
a proof, to undo an opponent. Our introductions, as v/e 
have seen from the plans presented, are almost entirely 
exposition. In our discussion we are at liberty to call 
any form of composition into play to substantiate our con- 
tentions, — ^we may paint a word-picture that will impress 
or elucidate; we may tell a story or use a parable directly 
parallel with the phase of the question we are dealing with, 
that will be irrefutably convincing; we may explain a situa- 
tion with a clarity that must place vividly before every one 
some unforgettable plan or operation. All of these things 
we may do, and yet have the result, the sum total, form 
a unified and systematic argument. The last points in the 
discussion and all-^ of those in the conclusion . should — 
usually unconsciously will — consist of pure, aostract ar- 
gument. But we can likewise conceive of a debate which 
will consist of genuine argument everywhere else, though 
this of course would be somewhat exceptional. Perhaps 


we cannot do better in this connection than to turn to 
Chapter XI and re-read what was there said about the 
method of a lawyer in preparing his argument in a certain 

We have been studying argument all along very much 
as if it were a form of oral composition only, and, taking 
the bri^f^out of the question, this is largely true. We read 
exposition, narration, and description, but we hear argu- 
ment. In other words argument is a more live, oral and 
active form of composition than any of the others. We 
should not however consider this an excuse for not writing 
out our arguments. After we have drawn up our briefs, 
we should proceed just as we did in the other forms of 
written work. It is, as we have already found, the best 
possible exercise to follow an outline in writing, after we 
have carefully organized the material. But as a rule, if 
we are writing argument for delivery before an audience, 
it should be written out in detail and memorised. After 
we have acquired some ability in speaking' we may omit 
the writing altogether and make our argumentative speech 
from the brief alone. In such cases, where the argument 
is not written out but where the speaker depends entirely 
upon his brief, the brief should be as detailed, as highly 
subordinated, as possible. Briefs for legal cases are fre- 
quently of great length, but seldom are the arguments 
written out, the detailed subdivision in the brief taking the 
place of the solid writing. 

Great danger attends upon extemporizing too freely in 
debate. Nowhere is greater deliberation or closer prepara- 
tion necessary than here, where every word spoken counts 
for so by way of loss or gain in its results. Yet 
unfortunately nothing is more common than extempore 
debate among those who have little or no training/in it. 


Extemporaneous speaking is a most valuable exercise, but, 
as we have learned (Chapter X), it should be commenced 
with some of the other forms of composition. Slovenly 
expressions very easily creep into our English in all kinds 
of extemporaneous speaking, but nowhere more easily than 
in debate. Such expressions as "Now to my first point", 
"As my colleague has shown", etc., while not absolutely 
wrong in themselves, are nevertheless bad and hackneyed 
when used to excess, as they are often apt to be in unpre- 
pared debate. 

The various types of plan may likewise be combined in 
argumentative briefs. We may use the topical, the 
phrasal, the clausal, or the sentence form of plan. And 
we may use any two or more of thes6 in combination. 
This must not mean, however, that a confused form of 
plan for our argument is to result. On the other hand 
we can have and should have the most consistent uniform- 
ity in the midst of this variety. But argument, having 
weighty decision dependent upon it, should have the privi- 
lege of employing those different forms of plan in its 
development that may be made the most effective. In 
our introduction it may be necessary to have only topics, — 
the words that have been indicated above. In other cases 
however it may be necessary not only to write the words, — 
"Definition of terms" — ^but to write out in the brief the 
actual definition. In the discussion, again, we may use 
any one of these forms of plan. It is somewhat common 
in this part of our brief to combine the sentence and 
clausal forms, as we have done in our briefs on capital 
punishment, thus: — 

I. This is a serious wrong, because 

a. it does this 

b. it does that 



2. Because this is allowed, we have 

a. poverty 

b. oppression 

or, to use the phrasal continuation, as : — 

I. In the case of 

a. factories 

b. stores 

c. offices 

In the summary it is best to state our conclusions in 
the form of perfect sentences, in order thus to make our 
final words quite clear to the minds of our listeners. But, 
whatever form of expression we may select, we should see 
to it that all those topics coming under the same subdivision 
are kept uniform. In our summing up we should not state 
some of our proofs in sentence form, and some in phrasal, 
but all should be stated declaratively and completely, and 
the concluding sentence should in addition bear an indica- 


tion, by means of such a word as "therefore", that it is the 
final deduction of all that has gone before. Of course our 
summary or conclusion is but a restatement of our former 
arguments in a somewhat condensed form. But here the 
accentuation, clarity and convincingness are more particu- 
larly necessary and valuable than anywhere else in the 
whole argument, though of course important everywhere; 
and we are justified in selecting, as indeed we are through- 
out our plan, those vehicles of outline expression which 
best procure these qualities for us, so long as we do so con- 


I. Compose ten questions for single argument and 
draw up the briefs, either affirmative or negative, for at 
least two of them. 


II. Compose ten questions for team argument and 
draw up briefs, either affirmative or negative, for at least 
two of them, indicating the apportionment of parts. 

III. Draw up affirmative or negative briefs for the 
following questions for single argument : — 

Resolved: That our high school course is impractical. 
Resolved: That our schools should remain open all summer. 
Resolved: That Sunday baseball should be prohibited. 
Resolved: That the capital of the United States should be 

nearer to the center of the country. 
Resolved: That yellow journalism should be suppressed. 

IV. Draw up affirmative or negative briefs for the 
following questions for team argument, — 

Resolved: That church property should be taxed. 

Resolved: That women, in whatever line of work, should re- 
ceive the same salary as men holding similar posi- 

Resolved: That government by commission should be estab- 
lished in all large American cities. 

Resolved: That large fortunes should be taxed by the state. 

Resolved: That the House of Governors should be made a 
permanent legislative body. 

V. Outline a rebuttal for each of the briefs pre- 
pared in answer to Exercise IV. 

VI. Draw up a brief, affirmative or negative, for the 
following question. Introduce much narrative and de- 
scription into it, and indicate them by means of changed 
form of outline: — 

Resolved: That motormen and chauffeurs be obliged to bear 
the expense of caring for victims injured or killed 
by cars they are running. 


VII. Draw up a brief, affirmative or negative, for a 
single argument on the following question. Use as many 
different forms of plan as you can, consistently and ef- 
fectively : — 

Resolved: That theaters should he open on Sundays. 

VIII. Plan and write both the affirmative and the 
negative rebuttal for the argument on capital punishment 
(page 301). 

Complete the brief presented on "Resolved: That the 
school day, which now closes at 2.30, be extended to 4 

IX. Make both affirmative and negative briefs for a 
team argument on the following question. Indicate the 
partition or assignment of arguments : 

Resolved : That boys be allowed to decide for themselves what 
profession or business they will enter. 

X. Make a formal study plan of the chapter on The 
Argumentative Plan. 

XI. Draw up a brief, affirmative or negative, for a 
single argument on the following question. Add also a 
rebuttal for offsetting the arguments which you anticipate 
your opponent will present: — 

Resolved: That planning our written work carefully before 
writing it is a good thing. 

XII. Draw up briefs, either affirmative or negative, 
for the illustrative questions on page 299. 



There are three methods by which we may record the 
words of others in our orat or written composition. We 
may ref rame them into our own phraseology, as : — 

John said, that he would not go when Bill asked him to join 
the party, 

and thus express them by means of simple or indirect dis- 
course. Or we may state the actual words and construc- 
tion of the speaker, as: — 

John said, "I will not go," when Bill asked him to join the 

and thus use the conversational or direct discourse. Or 
again, we may state the actual words of all speakers with 
their names attached, in alternation, thus : — 

Bill : Will you go with our party, John ? 
John: I will not go. 

and make use of the dramatic or dialogue method. 

These three methods, then — the simple or indirect, the 
conversational or direct, the dramatic or dialogue — ^may 
be used in placing the words of others before an audience. 
They vary in importance with the occasion and the form 
of composition. 




Usually the first method will be found easiest and most 
natural. To put the thoughts and expressions of others 
into our own words is very much the same as fitting a 
new picture to a frame that we like and are accustomed 
to. When this method is used, we should place a comma 
after the word "said", or "replied", or "retorted", or what- 
ever other word we use to indicate the words of another, 
and this is usually followed with the word "that". This 
introductory word is not always expressed, however. 
Whenever a series of statements follows the predicate it 
should be used, but where the discourse is comparatively 
brief it is not necessary. "John said he would not go" is 
quite as good as "John said that he would not go". But, 
in the following example, it is a little better to have "that" 
expressed before each clause, in order to keep the various 
statements separate: "He said that the matter would re- 
ceive his attention, that no stone should be left unturned 
to make it right, and that we could depend upon his in- 
vestigation absolutely." It would be unwise to use "that" 
before one of these clauses and not before the others. 


Direct or conversational discourse is the most trouble- 
some for beginners in writing. The punctuation has to 
be looked after very carefully in order to make the quoted 
part clear and separate. All direct statements and quota- 
tions must be marked off by means of quotation marks, 
and when it is necessary to place a quotation within a quo- 
tation, these marks must be observed with mathematical 


accuracy, for the quotations must be kept distinct one from 
another. To illustrate: John said, "My father said to 
me sternly, 'John, you must not do this.' " 

Here we see there are two direct statements, one within 
the other. John says something in which he states directly 
what some one else (his father) says. While it is not usu- 
ally the case, such quotation may be extended to a highly in- 
volved degree. To illustrate further: John said, "My 
father said to me very sternly, *My boy, you must act ac- 
cording to that famous old dictum, "Well begun is half 
done," if you would make a success of your work.' " 

We see that the double and the single quotation marks 
are used in alternation to separate the several parts of the 
quotation. This alternation is continued to whatever 
length may be necessary in quoted material. In the above, 
the marks stand as follows: — 








since there are three quotations used by one speaker. In 
other words, the quotations stand in much the same rela- 
tion as the parentheticar quantities in an algebraic equa- 
tion : — 

\.\( )U 

It is necessary to remember always, that as in algebra 
a bracket, or brace, or parenthesis at the beginning of a 
quantity must have a corresponding bracket or brace or 
parenthesis at its end, so also in quotations our quotation 
marks must always be paired. Thus, in the above dia- 
gram ( I ) must have a corresponding ( i ) at the end, and ' 


(2) and (3) likewise. Not to observe this completion 
will throw the reader into confusion. 

We must observe here also that, as in indirect dis- 
course, the words "said", "replied", etc., are followed by 
the comma where the quotation follows them. It is better, 
as a rule, to capitalize the first word of every direct quota- 
tion, no matter how many quotations occur consecutively. 
This rule need not be followed, however, if in quoting 
from literature we commence to quote in the middle of a 

line, — " ^honor is the subject of my story". Here the 

quoted part begins after the first word of the line and the 
first word in our quotation need not be capitalized because 
it is not capitalized in the text from which it is taken. 

The great importance of the correct use of quotation 
marks can be seen where several different speeches are 
quoted within a single paragraph. Here the quotation 
marks keep speeches separate and individual which other- 
wise would appear confused. The better usage, however, 
in passages of continued quotations, is to give each quo- 
tation, however short, a line by itself. If we consult our 
favorite novels and stories, we shall see that this rule is 
followed pretty generally, quotations being allowed within 
paragraphs only where those quotations are very brief and 
unimportant (page 58). 

When the qijiotations are written on separate lines and 
the discourse is between two persons only, it is not neces- 
sary even to indicate the speakers, for the alternation is 
easily followed by means of quotation marks. Even 
where there are more than two speakers, some writers can 
conduct the conversation lucidly without those monotonous 
guiding posts already referred to, — "John said", "Bill 
replied", "retorted John", "answered Bill", "cried John", 
"explained Bill", "John put in", "hissed Bill", etc 


Of course, we have a wide range of words to select 
from to relieve this monotony, but even when we have 
used them all, we may still be very tiresome to our read- 
ers. Examine the following bit of conversation, written 
in both ways: — 


The Colonel and the young lieutenant were the last left on the 
old bench.. Dusk was fast closing into darkness. 

"Well, perhaps youVe right. It's certainly very odd. Good 
night," said the elder of the two, as he got up to go. 

"Good night, Colonel," replied the other. 

"Good night, my boy," repeated the elder. 

"You'll leave in the morning, then?" called the younger. 

"O, yes indeed," came the Colonel's answer through the dark. 


The Colonel and the young lieutenant were the last left on the 
old bench. Dusk was fast closing into darkness. 

"Well, perhaps you're right. It's certainly very odd. Good 

"Good night, Colonel." 

"Good night, my boy." 

"You'll leave in the morning, then?" 

"O, yes indeed." 

Observe, further, the following page of conversational 
composition : — 

"Good morning, sir!" 

Startled at hearing this greeting in the midst of such a crowd 
of black people, I turn sharply around in search of the , man, and 
see him at my side, with the blackest of faces, but animated and 
joyous — 3, man dressed in a long white shirt, with a turban of 
American sheeting around his woolly head, and I ask : — 

"Who the mischief are you?" 


"I am Susi, the servant of Dr. Livingstone/' said he, smiling, 
and showing a gleaming row of teeth. 

"What ! Is Dr. Livingstone here ?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"In this village?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Are you sure?" 

"Sure, sure, sir. Why, I leave him just now." 

"Good morning, sir," said another voice. 

"Hallo," said I, "is this another one?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Well, what is your name?" 

"My name is Chumah, sir." 

"What ! are you Chumah, the friend of Wekotani ?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"And is the Doctor well?" 

"Not very well, sir." 

"Where has he been so long?" 

"In Manyuema." — From Henry M. Stanley's A Meeting in the 
Heart of Africa. 


The third kind of discourse, dramatic or dialogue, is 
familiar to most of us through its use in the catechism, and 
in many of our text-books. Much of the best learning of 
the world has been presented by means of the dialogue 
method. It is preeminently an expository method. We 
have seen that full answers to our questions will eluci- 
date a subject. So, if we are writing an explanation of 
some subject to a friend, we can best do it perhaps by 
imagining first of all his questions, writing them down 
briefly,, and then stating full answers to them. Some- 
tiines this is called the Greek method, because it was so 
skilfully used by Socrates and other Greek teachers. So 


effective and beneficial has it proved that it is now used by 
all teachers. 

In form, the dialogue differs from the two foregoing 
styles of discourse in that the quotation marks and the 
commas are not used. We state first the name, as: — 

Teacher : 
Pupil : 

or Question : 

Answer : 

or John: — 


or Lawyer : — 

Witness : — 

following it with a colon or dash or both in every case; 
or we write the names in the middle of the page between 
the lines of the dialogue. 

Care should be taken to make each part of the dia- 
logue grammatically complete, however. We should not 
start our answer to a question with the word "Because", 
or with any other denoting dependence: — 

NOT — 

Teacher: In what direction is England from New York? 

Pupil: Northeast. 

Teacher: Why is it not colder, therefore? 

Pupil: Because it is warmed by the gulf stream. 

BUT — 

Teacher: In what direction is England from New York? 
Pupil: England is northeast of New York. 
Teacher: Why is it not colder, therefore? 
Pupil: England is not colder than New; York because it is 
warmed by the gulf stream. 


In other words, the answer should repeat the main 
part of the question as a subject. The question should 
likewise be directly stated and should never imply an 
answer. Thus : — 

Teacher: England is northeast of New York, isn't it? 
Pupil: Yes. 

i^an erroneous form of question, because it implies the 
answer. It is sometimes called the leading question. 
Moreover, both question and answer are wrong here, be- 
cause the proper proportion between the two is lost sight 
of. "The leading question always induces the lazy an- 
swer", it is said. The answer is the all-important thing 
in dfalogue of this expository sort, the question being 
merely to guide and direct. The answer must then be full 
and explicit; the question, short and to the point. Where 
a series of such questions and answers is necessary to 
elucidate a subject, they should be developed slowly and 
step by step in regular order. If we consult a series of 
map questions' in geography, or of review questions at 
the conclusion of some chapter in history, we shall see that 
they develop always some regular line of thought and in- 


- The Dramatic P/awM-When the dialogue form is used 
to tell the story of a unified, continued, eventful happening 
it is narrative or dramatic. Drama always calls for the 
dialogue form; but the use of the dialog;ue form of dis- 
course does not always imply that the subject-matter is 
dramatic, as we have seen above. To be dramatic, a theme 


must contain much action, usually developed as narration is 
developed, and also steps of suspense to a climax and con- 
clusion or resolution. Of course, there is also much litera- 
ture that is dramatic that is not cast into the dialogue form, 
but it can very easily be so written and we can probably 
think of many cases where it has been done. Dickens' A 
Tale of Two Cities was, we know, very successfully drama- 
tized and played. Omissions, additions, many changes 
were made, to be sure, but its main theme, in and of itself, 
was intensely dramatic. On the other hand, we have known 
a whole play to be written in the form of a short story in 
which the chief events of the play and most, if not all, of 
the characters were set forth. Lamb's Tales from Shak- 
spere, for instance, is a case in point. Here again some- 
thing is lost in the conversion, many changes, many omis- 
sions, are necessary, but the center or core of the dramatic 
story remains the same. 

It is necessary to make a very wise choice of events 
from a story if it is to be converted into a pleasing drama. 
Selection and rejection count for more here perhaps than 
almost anywhere else. In every novel and story there are 
long descriptive passages, which we must omit in our 
dramatization. Then, too, there are always a number of 
subsidiary actions which are unnecessary for the develop- 
ment of the main theme of the story. We must decide 
whether our play is to be a comedy of a tragedy ; whether 
it is to be a play for amusement, for moraf uplift, or for 
laying bare some great,, social wrong.' Always, we must 
have some purpose in mind before we construct our plan, 
or scenario as it is called, for the selection of the proper 
material cannot othei-wiiBe be made. 

It behooves us in our reading to be observant, there- 
fore, of dramatic qualities. Perhapis we can select certain 


parts of some long stories or all of some short stories 
and draw tip dramatic briefs or outlines of them. This 
will be a wholesome exercise, for there are important dif- 
ferences in construction between the drama and the story 
or novel. 

Enumerate as many of these differences as you can 
and decide, if possible , when each of the two forms, drama 
or novel, has the advantage over the other. 

In drawing up our scenario or dramatic brief we 
should first state our title, then the name of the original 
writer (if we have borrowed a story), or dramatist (if 
we are outlining a play), then a complete character cast 
(or dramatis personam), and finally a summarized state- 
ment of the time, place, and chief events of the drama. 
This concludes our brief proper. It may be followed 
(should be, if it is to be presented) by the dialogue written 
out for each character. 

By character cast we mean the names of the charac- 
ters participating in the play, together with a short ac- 
count of who they are, with the real names of the actors 
playing the parts, thus :-7- 

James Brown, bank cashier Mr. Arthur Drew. 

Everett Brown, his son, a ne'er-do-well. .Mr. Thomas Ryan. . 

Any one of various methods of arrangement may be 
used in ordering the names in the cast. Sometimes the 
most important is placed first*; sometimes last. Sometimes 
characters are placed in the order of social position. 
(This used to be the case always in plays written for pres- 
entation under monarchical governriients. ) Sometimes all 
the male characters come first, followed by the female; and 
then, after a space, the name of the leading lady or gen- 


tletnan. Again, the characters may be placed in the cast 
in the order of their several appearances in the play; if 
"James Brown" is the first actor to appear after the cur- 
tain goes up, then his name belongs first on the program, 
etc. It matters not which one of these methods of cast- 
ing we select, so long as we consistently follow one of 

The summary of the time, place and chief events (or 
argument) of the play should be made in sections called 
acts. These represent large and important divisions in 
the movement of the story. Where the action is highly 
involved we may subdivide each act into subdivisions called 
scenes, but it is better for us to keep our action and our 
division of it as simple as possible. Shaksperean plays 
are divided into five acts as a rule and each one of these 
is in turn divided into scenes. But in our day a simpler 
form of drama is required and the play of three or four 
acts is most common. As in narration, we should arrange 
to have our climax near the end ; if our play consists of 
three acts, we will place it near the end of the second or 
in the beginning of the third, and in the latter part of 
the third act we will conclude the story, reserving some 
element of surprise or some unimportant threads of ac- 
tion still to be worked out. Our first act must contain 
exposition; that is, it must always lucidly introduce us to 
the characters and situation of the play, — to the who, the 
how, the when, the zvhere, and the why. If our play is to 
consist of four acts, the first and the last should deal with 
those matters just referred to; the second and third should 
deal with the development of the main theme, the climax 
falling near the end of the third act or possibly early in 
the fourth. In short, our dramatic brief should be a 
program for a play that is to be presented. It will re- 


semble a real theatrical program, but with the story of the 
play added. 

Of the three dramatic plans following, the first and 
third are brief adaptations from short stories : 


Story by ' A Drama 

Washington Irving. in Three Acts by 

Dramatization by Robert Blank, based upon 

Robert Blank. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 

Washington Irving. 

Character Cast. 

Ichabod Crane, a schoolmaster Mr. John Shaw. 

Katrina Van Tassel, a marriageable heiress Miss Evelyn Hay. 

Brom Bones a suitor to Katrina and a village "terror" 

Mr. Lloyd Smith. 

Baltus Van Tassel, her father Mr. Thomas Evans. 

Hans von Ripper, a prominent citizen Mr. Davis Brown 

Pupils, villagers, farmers, rowdies. 

ACT I-^Crane's Schoolhouse — i o'clock p. m. 

Argument: Summons to Van Tassel's Party. 

ACT II — The Van Tassel House — Evening of the same day. 

Argument: Merry-making. Crane and Bones in 
heated rivalry for Katrina's favor. 

ACT III — Sleepy Hollow — Later the same night. 

Argument: Crane on his way home from the party, 
pursued by real and imaginary "bogies" 


An Original Drama in Four Acts 

Robert Blank. 

Dramatis PersotuB. 

William B. Shapland, millionaire elder of Grove church 

Mr. Jay Roberts. 

Mollie Shapland, his daughter, a "catch" Miss Violet Ray. 

Charles Arscott, her weakling fiance, in her father's employment 

Mr. James Ogden. 

Rev. Alan Brown, pastor of a poor church Mr. John Holder. 

Mrs. Alan Brown, his wife Miss Cora Claire. 

•* Billy" Brown, their runaway son, formerly engaged to Mollie 

Mr. Donald Drew. 
Messengers, church officers, village folk. 


Time — The present. Place — An American country town. 

Synopsis of the Play. 

ACT I — The Brown Home — Afternoon. 

(The parishioners give the Browns a party. "Billy," 
their long-lost wayward son, unexpectedly returns.) 

ACT II — The Brown House — Two evenings later. 

(The Shaplands and Arscott are calling. "Billy" 
congratulates Mollie and Arscott and lays bare to 
the company his experiences as a spendthrift and 

ACT III— Mr. Shapland's Office— A few days later. 

(Rev. Brown and his wife call to ask help to pay 
Billy's bad debts. While waiting, they discuss recent 
rumors about Arscott. Billy promises reform. 
Mollie happens in. She pleads with her father, and 
partly prevails upon him to employ the boy and help 
him otherwise.) 


ACT IV— The Village Church— One week later. 

(All hands including "Billy" are decorating for Mol- 
lie's wedding. Arscott is suddenly called for by Mr. 
Shapland's secretary. Rumors of his defaulting have 
been heard. A telegram arrives for "Billy" telling 
him of his enormous success in a lottery. Arscott 
has proven untrustworthy. Mollie gives her hand to 


A Play in Three Acts, adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson's 

famous story. Treasure Island, 

Robert Blank 

Cast of Characters 

Captain Flint 

Billy BoneSy "a true sea dog" ^ 
Black Dog, his old shipmate. 

Pew, a blind man 

Dirk, a ship hand 

Johnny, a ship hand 

Mr. Hawkins, proprietor of the Admiral Benbow 

Mrs. Hawkins, his wife 

Taylor, his gardener 

Mrs. Crossley, a friend of Mrs. Hawkins 

Dance, supervisor of the revenue office 

Dogger, one of his men 

David Livesey, a physician 

John Trelawney, Esquire, "backer" of a treasure 
seeking expedition 

Thomas Redruth 
Richard Joyce . 
John Hunter . . . 




Blandly, his friend and representative 


Alexander Smollett, captain of the good ship His- 


Arrow, the first mate 

Job Anderson, the boatswain 

Israel Hands, the coxswain 

John Silver (known also as "Long John" and "Bar- 
becue"), cook on the good ship Hispaniola. . 

Harry ) His boys at the 

Ben J "Spy Glass Inn" 

"Captain Flint," his parrot 

Tom Morgan, his friend 

^ > "Honest hands," Silver's first victims 

Dick Johnson, a "square pirate" 

O'Brien, a "rank Irelander" 

George Merry, a "long man with yellow eyes". . . . 

Abraham Gray, "with Captain Smollett" 

Ben Gunn, a marooned pirate 


JIM HAWKINS, cabin boy, adventurer, and hero 

Seamen, servants, and villagers. 
Time: the eighteenth century. 

ACT I— England. 

Scene i — At the Admiral Benbow Inn, Black Hill Cove, 

Scene 2 — At Bristol, England. 

ACT II — On board the Hispaniola. 

Scene i — The deck of the good ship Hispaniola. 
Scene 2 — The cabin of the good ship Hispaniola. 

ACT III — Treasure Island. 

Scene i — At the log-house. Treasure Island. 
Scene 2 — In Ben Gunn's cave. Treasure Island. 




Billy Bones, an old pirate, dies at the Admiral Benbow Inn. 
He leaves a chest containing a valuable diagram of the exact 
geographical location of a buried treasure. Some of his old com- 
rades are lurking about in the neighborhood intent upon stealing 
this; but Jim Hawkins and his mother rummage the chest in 
search of money due them, find the packet containing the diagram 
(which they place little value upon) and are off to the village to 
escape the attack upon their house proposed by the ex-pirates. 
Squire Trelawney, learning the contents of the packet, eager for 
adventure, fits out a ship to go in search of the treasure. The 
crew is selected, and with Hawkins as cabin boy, Smollett as cap- 
tain, Livesey as doctor, and John Silver as cook, the good ship 
Hispaniola sets sail upon her hazardous voyage. 


Jim Hawkins, concealed in an apple barrel on deck, hears 
Silver and certain of his loyal followers planning treachery. Tre- 
lawney and his men are to be killed, the diagram taken, and the 
treasure found and apportioned among the mutineers. Jim se- 
cretly passes the word to Doctor Livesey and tells him to arrange 
a secret council in the cabin. Here Jim explains the situation, 
and the Captain, Trelawney, and Doctor Livesey consider it well. 
Jim is made to feel his importance and his responsibility, and all 
are keyed to meet any emergency. 


The mutiny has come, with losises on both sides. Though all 
the principals have been spared, they are in Silver's power in the 
little log-house on the island. Jim returns from a great adven- 
ture which he defiantly tells to his captors. When the actual hunt 
for the treasure is made, the mutineers are disappointed to find that 
someone has been before them, for the spot where U should be, 
according to the chart, reveals nothing but a hu^e hgle, This is 



explained in the next scene by the appearance of Ben Gunn, a 
marooned pirate, whom Jim has met before in his travels over the 
island, and whom Silver has previously known in his adventures 
on the sea. Ben Gunn has the treasure safely stored in his cave 
and Silver acknowledges with much chagrin that he has been 
worsted by his old enemy. His little victory is turned to sudden 
defeat; the old officers of the Hispaniola resume their places, and 
preparations for departure begin. 

Stage Directions: — If our play is to be acted it is neces- 
sary to write the dialogue for each character. In addi- 
tion, we must also state clearly certain directions for the 
players. Many of these occur interspersed through the dia- 
logue placed in parentheses and written in italics. They 
should give information as to entrances and exits on our 
stage, dress and make-up, stage furnishings, and stage 
''business"; that is, the special action to be employed by 
the actor. Such points as dress and make-up and stage 
furnishings may need to be stated at the beginning of each 
act; points relating to exits and entrances and "business" 
may be introduced anywhere. Frequently, a stage plan is 
drawn as follows; we can vary it to suit our own school 
conditions : 

Upper Right 

Lower RIgh 

Upper Left 

Lower Left 


If this were our stage arrangement, we would indicate the 
various ^xits or entrances by means of letters ; as, 


(Enter U. L.) Enter Upper Left. 
(Enter L. R.) Enter Lower Right, 

Moreover, by using the diagram, we can indicate the fur- 
nishings or give the stage settings, as is done here. Color 
schemes, however, will have to be indicated by writing. 
Directions in regard to character make-up may be illus- 
trated thus: — 

(Rev. Alan Brown — black suit of clerical cut; top hat; um- 
brella; Bible; mutton-chop whiskers; glasses; bald frontal; stilted 
and conventional in manner and movement.) 

And ''business" should be indicated always at the place it 
is intended to be acted ; thus : — 

Lord Fop: [Aside. 1 So! she would inquire into my amours 
— that's jealousy, poor soul ! — I see she's in love with me. — 
[Aloud,"] O Lord, madam, I had like to have forgot a secret I 
must needs tell your ladyship. — Ned, you must not be so jealous 
now as to listen. 

Love: [Leading Berinthia up the stage,] Not I, my lord; I 
am too fashionable a husband to pry into the secrets of my wife. 

Lord Fop: [Aside to Amanda, squeezing her hand,] I am in 
love with you to desperation, strike me speechless I 

Atnan: [Strikes hint on the ear.] Then thus I return your 
passion. — An impudent fool! 

Lord Fop: Gad's curse, madam, I am a peer of the realm! 

Love: [Hastily returning,] Hey! what the devil, do you 
affront my wife, sir? Nay, then [Draws, They fight.] 

Atnan: What has my folly done? — Help! murder! help! — 
Part them, for Heaven's sake. 

Lord Fop : [Falls back and leans on his sword.] Ah ! quite 
through the body, stap my vitals ! — From R. B. Sheridan's A Trip 
to Scarborough, 

Our dialogue should indicate the actual business wherever 
possible. Shakspere has nearly always indicated action 


by the word. Hamlet in his advice to the players advised 
suiting the action to the word. Hence, when Brutus says, 
"For so much gold as may be grasped thus", "thus" really 
amounts to a stage direction for gesture. We can find 
many such subtle directions on almost every page of 
Shakspere's plays, if we keep our minds open while read- 
ing them. 


I. Write the following passage from Dickens ( i ) 
in conversational form and (2) in dialogue form. 

Had he ever been a spy himself? No, he scorned the base in- 
sinuation. What did he live upon? His property. Where was 
his property? He didn't precisely remember where it was. What 
was it ? No business of anybody's. Had he inherited it ? Yes, he 
had. From whom? Distant relation. Very distant? Rather. 
Ever been in prison? Certainly not. Never in a debtors* prison? 
Didn't see what that had to do with it. Never in a debtors' prison ? 
— Come, once again. Never? Yes. How many times? Two or 
three times. Not five or six? Perhaps. Of what profession? 
Gentleman. Ever been kicked? Might have been. Frequently? 
No. Ever kicked down stairs? Decidedly not; once received a 
kick on the top of a staircase, and fell down stairs of his own 
accord. Kicked on that occasion for cheating at dice? Some- 
thing to that effect was said by the intoxicated liar who committed 
the assault, but it was not true. Swear it was not true? Posi- 
tively. Ever live by cheating at play? Never. Ever live by 
play? Not more than other gentlemen do. Ever borrow money 
of the prisoner? Yes. Ever pay him? No. Was not this in- 
timacy with the prisoner, in reality a very slight one, forced upon 
the prisoner in coaches, inns, and packets? No. Sure he saw 
the prisoner with these lists? Certain. Knew no more about the 
lists? No. Had not procured them himself for instance? No. 
Expect to get anything by this evidence? No. Not in regular 
government pay and employment, to lay traps? Oh, dear no. Or 


to do anything ? Oh, dear no. Swear that ? Over and over again. 
No motives but motives of sheer patriotism? None whatever. — 
From Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, 

II. Report part of the conversation in one of your 
classes, both directly and indirectly. 

III. Explain the working of a camera or of some 
other thing with which you are familiar, by means of 
dialogue question and answer. 

IV. Write an imaginary dialogue between a mouse 
and a trap, (a) before the mouse is caught, (b) after the 
mouse is caught. 

V. Convert the following indirect expressions into 
the direct form: — 

1. They said they preferred apples to peaches. 

2. He replied to my query as to his destination that he was 
going to London. 

3. He retorted that I should never go with his consent. 

4. He was very angry when I told him that he was as fat as 
I was tall. 

5. When I inquired the way to the place, the tall man said 
it was too complicated to explain. 

6. She told me that she had lost the book but begged me not 
to divulge the fact to her mother. 

7. Evans said that he could not eat meat because it invariably 
poisoned him. 

8. He asked me if I was aware that I had dropped my book. 

9. When I asked him how he did it, he explained that it was 
a secret. 

10. As they were descending from the mountain, she called that 
she could go no further. 

VL Convert the following direct expressions into the 
indirect form: — 

I. "Where have you been?" I asked John as he entered the 


2. "You ought not to have allowed him to cheat you," she said. 

3. "He will not be so unjust as to deprive me of my child," 
wept the impoverished mother. 

4. While we were sailing quietly along, Mary murmured, "O, 
dear, I wish we could keep right on forever." 

5. "Keb! Keb! 'Av a Keb, Sir!" called the cabbies as we ar- 
rived at the station. 

6. To my inquiry she replied, "Take the first road on your 
right and the old homestead will be seen on the left just 
after you make the turn." 

7. "How could you have so far forgotten yourself," she asked, 
"after I had warned you about this very thing?" 

8. They said, "As we were going into the cavern the boatman 
came running after us calling, 'Wait a moment, you have 
left your wraps behind.' " 

9. He asked, "Please tell me who said, 'Give me liberty or give 
me death.' " 

10. "Did he convince you of the truth of the matter?" I asked. 
"O dear no!" replied the Doctor. 

VII. Punctuate the following : — 

1. They said the speaker quoted those famous lines from Long- 
fellow life is real, life is earnest and the grave is not its 
goal and we felt that they were appropriate. 

2. To the question how old are you he replied younger than I 
look and older than I act. 

3. I met a man by the wayside he commenced to whom I said 
tell me my man what you conceive to be the chief end of life. 
Death he replied, and went on with his work as if I had 
already met that end. 

4. The teacher said please close the door John certainly re- 
plied he as he courteously did it. 

5. Place the plank here where Here by the wall Why not 
there out of the sun Because I want it nearer the workshop 

VIII. Write the follov^ing first in direct and then in 
indirect discourse. What is lost or gained in each case? 


Clerk: I refuse to comply with your request. 

Employer: Then you must leave my service at once. 

Clerk: Very well, Sir; but remember that I reserve the right 
to expose you and your business methods. 

Employer: Do your worst, young man; you cannot ruin a 
business with the world-wide reputation mine enjoys, if you devote 
your whole life to petty revenge. 

Clerk: We shall see. Good morning. Sir. 

IX. Using the above bit of dialogue as a nucleus, im- 
agine the full situation, develop three or four acts from 
it, and extend the dialogue. 

X. Make a dramatic plan of some event reported in 
the newspaper. Use your imagination for extending 3t 
and rounding it out. 

XL Enlarge upon the following episode. Divide it 
into acts. Write the dialogue for at least one act. 

Evelyn is giving a party to her young friends. Tea has 
been prepared and the company is enjoying it. Her brother Ralph 
and his boy friends who are playing "Indian" enter and turn things 
upside down. There is much confusion and many hard words 
are heard before the Indians depart. Then things are set in order 
and tea resumed. 

XII. Make a list of short stories suitable for drama- 
tization. Dramatize one of them. 


Accent, 202. 

Adjectives, in description, 278. 
Adverbs, in description, 278. 
Addison's The Tailer, quoted, 

Address, in letters, 150-154. 
Adherence, 15. 
Advertisements, answers to, 

Affirmative, in argument, 291. 
Analytic plan, defined, 102; 

illustrated, 105-106. 
Application letters, 162. 
Arabic numerals, 14, 44. 
Argument, defined, 220; 

extempore, 210, 309; 

relation to other forms, 308; 

single, 296; 

team, 297; 

terms of, 291. 
Argumentative brief, 299-301. 
Argumentative plan, 290. 
Arnold's Sohrah and Rustum, 

outlined, 12. 
Arrangement of material, 23. 
Authority in argument, 294-295. 
Autobiography, 260. 
Autobiographic exposition, 231. 


Balanced sentence, 188-189. 

Biography, 260. 

Body, or discussion, 35-38, 48. 

Sorrow's Lavengro, quoted, 83. 

Bracket plan, defined, 106; 
illustrated, 107. 

Breathing, 198-199. 

Briefing an argument, 292-293. 

Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Prog- 
ress, titles in, 175. 

Business letters, 162-165. 

Byron's Maseppa, narrative 
type, 256. 

Capitalization, in letters, 150, 

in plans, 28; 

in titles, 175-176. 
Captain, in debate, 297. 
Character cast, 323. 
Character make-up, 331. 
Character sketch, 240-243. 
Choice of words, 201 ; 

in description, 278. 
Chronological order, 10. 
Circular letters, 165-166. 




Circumstance, arguments of, 

Clausal plan, defined, 91; 

illustrated, 92-93. 
Climax, defined, 249-250; 

proportion of, 251. 
Coherence, in composition, 183- 

in paragraphs, 66. 

Coleridge's The Ancient Mari- 
ner, order in, 50. 
Combination plan, 95. 
Common errors, in speaking, 

in writing, 178-183. 
Complimentary closing, 152-153. 
Composite paragraph, 79. 
Composition, form in, 177; 

kinds of, 219; 

oral, 196; 

written, 174. 
Concentration, 198. 
Conclusion, in argument, 294- 

in description, 268; 

in exposition, 239-241 ; 

in general plan, 35, 48; 

in narration, 250-251, 257. 
Condition, arguments of, 294- 

Congratulatory letters, 159-160. 

Contrasts in paragraphs, y6. 

Conversation, importance of, 


Conversation in paragraphs, 58- 

Conversational discourse, 315- 


Cooper's Last of the Mohicans, 

description in, 2yy. 
Creighton's The Crimean War, 

quoted, 105. 


Debate, single, 297; 

team, 296. 
Deductive plan, 102. 
Detail in description, 266. 
Description, defined, 220. 
Description, by comparison, 

by effect, 281 ; 

by sense testimony, 279. 
Descriptive plan, 265. 
Description and exposition, 226- 

Description, negative, 282-283; 

simple, 268-269, 278. 
Development, or discussion, 35- 

Diacritical marks, 202. 

Diagrams, in description, 280- 


in exposition, 227. 

Dialogue, 319. 

Diaphragmatic ^breathing, 199- 


Dickens' Pickwick Papers. 

quoted, 83. 

Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, 

order in, 51 ; 

quoted, 79. 

Dictionary, use of, 201-202. 

Discourse, kinds of, 314; 

conversational, 3 1 5-319 ; 



dialogue, 319; 

direct, 315-319; 

dramatic, 321 ; 

indirect, 315 ; 

simple, 315. 
Discussion, body or develop- 
ment, 35, 48. 
Drama' and novel, 322-323. 
Dramatic discourse, 321. 
Dramatic plan, 314, 323. 
Dramatis persona, 323. 
Dramatization, 321. 


Echo- words, 64; 

illustrative paragraph, 64-65. 
Eliot's Felix Holt, quoted, 73. 
Eliot's Silas Marner, descrip- 
tion in, 282; 

order in, 51. 
Emphasis, in argument, 294- 

in composition, 185-186; 

in paragraphs, 63. 
Episode, defined, 255. 
Epithets and idioms, illiterate, 

Epithets in description, 275. 
Errors, in epithet and idiom, 

in grammar, 181; 

in pronunciation, 202; 

in use of words, 203. 
Experience, arguments of, 294- 

Exposition and description, 226- 

Exposition, defined, 220. 
Exposition, enumerative, 234- 

inverted, 230-231 ; 

plain, 227-228. 

Expository plan, 225. 

Extemporaneous speaking, 208. 

Events, planning by, 125. 

Form of expression, in plan- 
ning, 26-28. 
Form, in oral composition, 200; 

in written composition, 177. 
Formal letters, 138-143. 
Formal plan, defined, 35-36; 

illustrated, 36, 38, 39. 

Generic terms, 21. 
Gestures, 200-201. 
Glance, in description, 266. 
Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield, 
order in, 51; 

titles in, 175. 
Grammar, 181. 
Graphic plan, defined, 13; 

illustrated, 13, 14. 


Heading, in letters, 148-149. 
Headline plan, defined, 113; 

illustrated, 115-117. 
Hesitation in speaking, 207. 
How, in exposition, 235. 



Idioms and epithets, illiterate^ 

Impersonation, 209. 
Impression, in argument, 294- 

in description, 267 ; 

in paragraphing, 75. 
Indirect discourse, 315. 
Informal letters, 138, 143. 
Informal plan, defined, 29; 

illustrated, 23-24. 
Interchangeable plans, defined, 

illustrated, 97-101. 

Introduction, in argument, 294- 

in description, 266-270; 

in exposition, 226, 236, 238; 

in general composition, 35-48 ; 

in narration, 254-255; 

Introduction, incidental, 52. 

Introduction, omitted, 52. 

Irving's The Alhambra, quoted, 


Irving's The Legend of Sleepy 

Hollow, description in, 275 ; 

dramatic plan of, 325. 

Irving's The Life of Oliver 

Goldsmith, outline quoted, 



Key-words, 62. 

Kinds of composition, 219; 

discourse, 314; 

letters, 138; 

paragraphs, 78; 
plans, 86; 
sentences, 187-189. 
Kingsley's Westward Ho, quot- 
ed, 71. 

Leading question, 321. 
Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The, 

dramatic plan of, 325. 
Letter forms, 145-146. 
Letter margining, 145-146. 
Letter, parts of, 144. 
Letter plan, 137. 
Letters, classification of, 138. 
Letters, application, 162; 

business, 162-165; 

circular, 166; 

congratulatory, 159-160; 

formal, 138-143; 

informal, 138-143; 

newspaper, 167; 

order, 164-165; 

sample plans of, 155-168; 

school, 158; 

sympathy, 160. 
Loose sentence, 188-189. 
Love and Lottery, dramatic 

plan of, 326. 
Lowell's The Vision of Sir 
Launfal, order in, 51; 

outlined, 12. 


Macaulay's Lays of Ancient 

Rome, narrative type, 256. 
Make-up, character, 331. 



Margin, in compositions, 177; 
in letters, 145-146; 
in paragraphs, 57; 

in plans, 44-45- 
Meredith's The Ordeal of Rich- 

ard Feverel, quoted, 75. 
Method, in argument, 2gy-2^\ 
in description, 26$'266, 270, 

in exposition, 228, 230, 236- 

m narration, 250, 254, 260- 


in paragraphing, 70-78; 

in speaking, 211-212. 

Mispronunciations, list of, 203- 


Misuses, list of, 206-207. 

Mutilated endings, 203-204. 


Names, advice as to, 47-48. 
Narration, defined, 220. 
Narration, bad, 256; 

rapid, 256-257; 

slow, 246, 257. 
Narrative exposition, 231-232. 
Narrative plan, 246. 
Nasality, 200. 
Negative argument, 299. 
Negative description, 282-283. 
Negative form of question, 291- 

Nervousness, 197-198. 
Newspaper letters, 167. 
Nichols' Milt on' s Short er 
Poems and Sonnets, quoted, 

Nouns, in description, 278; 

in narration, 246. 
Novel and drama, 322-323. 
Numerals, Arabic, 14, 44; 

Roman, 14, 44. 


Occurrences, paragraph meth- 
od, 72. 
Oral composition, 196. 
Oratory, 209. 
Order letters, 164-165. 

Paragraph, conversation in, 58- 

defined, 56; 

illustrated, 64, 6S, 
Paragraph-composition plan, 67- 

Paragraph development, com- 
parison, y6\ 

composite, 79; 

impressions, 75; 

occurrences, 72; 

particulars, 74; 

thoroughness, 71. 
Paragraph length, 57. 
Parallel plan, in biography, 109- 

in English, 112; 

in history, in; 

in language, in; 

in literature, no; 

in science, 112. 
Parallel sentence, 188-189. 
Participial closing, 152. 



Particulars in paragraphing, 74. 

Pause, 213. 

Periodic sentence, 188-189. 

Phrasal plan, 87. 

Phrasing, 213-214. 

Picture plan, 13. 

Places, planning by, 125. 

Plans (illustrative) 

analytic, 105-106; 

argumentative, 295, 299, 301 ; 

bracket, 107; 

clausal, 92-93 ; 

combination, 97-101 ; 

deductive, 105-106; 

descriptive, 267-271, 273, 285- 

dramatic, 325, 326, 327; 

expository, 229-230, 232, 234, 
240, 243; 

formal, 36, 38, 39; 

graphic, 13; 

informal, 23; 

letter, 155-168; 

narrative, 247, 248, 251, 252, 
259, 261 ; 

parallel, 109-112; 

phrasal, 87-91 ; 

picture, 13; 

paragraph, 64, 65, 71, 73-75, 

rebuttal, 307; 

running, 9, 10, 11, 12; 

running-graphic, 46; 

sentence, 94-95; 

study, 105-106; 

topical, 86-87. 
Planning, importance of, 3-7. 
Poe's Tales, order in, 51. 

Point of view, defined, \20-\2\ ; 

illustrated, in description, 
272-273, 276-2^7-, 

illustrated, in general compo- 
sition, 124, 125-130, 131- 

moving, 126, 273; 

personal, 126-127; 

physical, 126, 272. 
Position for speaking, 200. 
Preparation of speeches, 211- 

Process of plan building, 19-22. 
Pronunciation, 203-205. 
Proportion, 10. 
Punctuation, in letters, 148- 

in plans, 28. 

Purpose, defined, 127; 

illustrated, 129-132 ; 

wrong, 132-134. 


Question and answer, 225-226, 

Question in debate, 291-292, 

Question, leading, 321. 
Quotation, 317, 
Quotation marks, 316. 
Quotation within quotation, 


Rebuttal, 305-306. 
Reference, in plans, 14. 



Refutation, 305-306; 

plan for, 307. 
Rejection of material, 20-21. 
Relation of composition types, 

Resolution, in drama, 324; 

in story, 250-251. 
Roman numerals, 14, 44. 
"Rough-and-ready" plan, 89. 
Running-graphic plan, defined, 

illustrated, 46-47. 

Running plan, 8. 

Salutation, in letters, 150. 
Scenario, 323. 
Scope, in composition, 42; 
in questions for debate, 298- 

Scott's Ivanhoe, description in, 

ord r in, 51. 

Scott's The Monastery, quoted, 


Scott's Quentin Durward, de- 
scription in, 2yy. 

Selection of material, 20-21. 

Senses, in description, 279. 

Sentence plan, 94. 

Sentence sound, 179. 

Sentences, kinds of, 188-189. 

Sequence, in composition, 10; 
in sentences, 180-183. 

Shakspere, stage directions in, 

Sheridan's A Trip to Scarbor- 
ough, quoted, 321. 

Similes in description, 280. 

Simple discourse, 314. 

Slurred pronunciations, 203-204. 

"Snap" arguments, 294-295. 

Speaking, 196. 

Specific terms, 21. 

Spelling, 178. 

Stage business, 331. 

Stage directions, 330. 

Stage plan, 330. 

Stevenson's The Dynamiter, 

quoted, 'yy. 
Stevenson's Treasure Island, 

dramatic plan of, 327. 
Study plan, defined, 102; 

illustrated, 105-106. 
Subdivision, process of, 20-23. 
Subject, of composition, 175. 
Subjects and titles, 174-177. 
Subordinate topics, lo-ii. 
Subordination, degrees of, 26; 

in paragraphing, 67-69; 

in planning, 11 ; 

in speaking, 214. 
Summary sentence, 61. 
Suspense, defined, 249; 

proportion of, 251. 
Syllabication, 178. 
Sympathetic letters, 160. 
Synopsis, in dramatic plan, 324. 

Tabulation, 43-45. 
Thoroughness in paragraphs, 

TOPIC, key word to para- 
graphing, 78. 





Topical plan, 86. 
Topics, major, lo-ii; 

minor, lo. 
Topic sentence, 60. 
Time, planning by, 125. 
Titles and subjects, 174-177. 
Treasure Island, dramatic plan 
of, 327- 


Uniformity, 26. 

Unity, in paragraphs, 66; 

in whole composition, 183, 
Usage, 202-208. 

Variety, defined, 186-191 ; 

plan of, 191, 
Verbs, in description, 278; 

in narration, 253. 
Voice, management of, 199; 

use of, 199-200. 


Words, in discourse, 317; 

for variety, 187. 
Written composition, 174. 





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